For Colored Girls



Tyler Perry melodrama deals with intense, disturbing themes.
  • Review Date: November 1, 2010
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 120 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Many of the movie's messages aren't exactly positive, but they're important for young women to understand -- that even men who seem nice can turn out to betray you, that it's never OK to keep quiet when your partner is being abusive, that a man who cheats on you again and again isn't worth trusting, and that it's important to ask for help if you find yourself in a hopeless relationship.

Positive role models

Yasmine is a strongly positive role model. She runs the dance studio to help other young women, and even after she's raped, she continues to support her dancers. Juanita is a selfless nurse who dedicates herself to educating women about their bodies and their health. Gilda may be nosy, but she's also kind and helpful and wants to be there for her residents, especially Crystal. On the downside, there are male characters who are far less admirable: One passes HIV on to
his unsuspecting wife, while another cheats on and leaves his girlfriend


Disturbing violence in several scenes -- including an angry, drunk, and psychologically unstable father dropping his children out their apartment window, killing them both. Before that, he's also abusive toward his wife. In another scene, a woman is raped in her home by a seemingly sweet man whom she'd invited for dinner. A mother hits her grown-up daughters.


Several scenes of partially clothed men or women and of couples kissing. In one scene, a girl describes the events leading up to losing her virginity. One character is openly promiscuous -- to the point that one man she brings home assumes she's a prostitute until she throws him out. One character is often shown in revealing/tight-fitting clothes, a robe that's half open, or just panties and a top.


Fairly frequent use of words like "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," and "bitch," as well as "p---y," "t-ts," "damn," "hell," "dick," "oh my God," and more.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

People drink wine and cocktails at a club, at a bar, and during a dinner date. One character drinks to excess on a regular basis.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this drama from filmmaker Tyler Perry deals with incredibly intense, disturbing issues -- including rape, domestic abuse, infidelity, and unplanned pregnancy. The story has a lot of sexuality, language, and violence -- the most difficult-to-watch scenes center on a rape and two children being killed by their own father. While the sex scenes aren't overtly graphic, there are lots of flashes of skin, plus passionate kissing and discussions of promiscuity. Language includes  "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," and "a--hole." Still, despite all of the mature themes, the movie's messages about standing up for yourself and asking for help may be worthwhile for older teenagers, especially young women, to take to heart. 

What's the story?

Based on poet Ntozake Shange's Tony-nominated 1975 play, FOR COLORED GIRLS followsthe intersecting lives of eight different African-American women, from young, naive Nyla (Tessa Thompson) to world-weary 60-something apartment manager Gilda (Phylicia Rashad). Tyler Perry weaves the characters' independent vignettes together by placing three of them in the same apartment building: there's Gilda; Tangie (Thandie Newton), a sexually aggressive bartender who lives next door to Gilda; and Crystal (Kimberly Elise), a put-upon mother whose partner is an abusive, unstable Iraq war veteran. They're investigated by social worker Kelly (Kerry Washington); meanwhile, Crystal is the personal assistant to high-powered magazine publisher Jo (Janet Jackson), and Tangie is the estranged daughter of religious zealot Alice (Whoopi Goldberg), whose other daughter is Nyla, an aspiring dancer who owes her college ambitions to her dance studio's owner, Yasmine (Anika Noni Rose). Popping up in all their lives is free-clinic nurse Juanita (Loretta Devine). As the women go through their daily lives, they wind up facing some horrible tragedies -- rape, abandonment, abortion, infidelity, discrimination, and even death.

Is it any good?


This is Perry's best film so far. He extracts fabulous performances from his all-star cast. The actresses -- particularly Devine, Rashad, and Elise -- are excellent (the only slightly off-note performance is Goldberg's, because her character's religious cult's beliefs aren't explained, and her devotion rings slightly false). As the award-winning theater veterans of the ensemble, Devine and Rashad
are an absolute pleasure to watch. With an arch of
the eyebrow or a jut of the hip, they steal every scene from their
younger co-stars.

Given that Shange's "choreo-poem" featured unconnected poems, Perry was smart to thread them together through the apartment building and other coincidences. But his compulsion to include long, poetic monologues -- accompanied by an emotional score -- only works part of the time. Other times it takes the viewer out of the story and creates an overwhelming sense of melodrama, both predictable and occasionally cringe-inducing.  And then there's the dialogue (added by Perry) that just doesn't work at all, like a climactic exchange between Jo and her husband Carl (Omari Hardwick), in which the words "sorry" and "sorries" are traded at least 50 times. It reduces what should have been a powerful scene into a ridiculous, predictable conversation. With a tighter script and a little less of the soliloquies, this could have been an award-worthy film. As it is, it must settle for being Perry's best so far.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages about what it means to be a woman. What does each character's story explain about women's struggles with men, their families, and each other?

  • What impact do the film's violent scenes have?

  • How do the different women deal with race? What about relationships?

  • How does this movie compare to Tyler Perry's other films?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 5, 2010
DVD release date:February 8, 2011
Cast:Janet Jackson, Kimberly Elise, Loretta Devine
Director:Tyler Perry
Run time:120 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:some disturbing violence including a rape, sexual content and language

This review of For Colored Girls was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bykhan2705 November 11, 2010

decent movie with some flaws.

i am not saying that i absolutely loved it over i am blown away by this movie, it was a decent contribution to the these type of Art house movies, it was Mr Tyler Perry's first time doing this kind of movie. he did a decent job not a great one but of course he will someday but that doesn't mean to just slam this movie, give extremely bad reviews. i don't understand why critics hate it so much. i know i did not liked the whole movie or somethings in it but that doesn't mean to just call it a disaster. movie was really disturbing and very emotional, seeing these different women's life and their different problems they face and all that things were really well shown but the problem is that they were first of all too much to show in little time, audience could not just connect with it instantly, too many stories too many emotions. i think this was the problem why everyone is hating this movie. this movie has perfect casting and very great performances. Janet, kimberly, Thandie, Loretta, Phylicia and everyone else performed brilliantly their own characters. somewhat overdone but its ok. little bit problem in the writing of this movie, something to really notice and editing too. women can see that their are many different ways of abuses they have and men can see how they effects and completely change upside down women's life. Any woman can relate and men as well can see and hear struggles that their mothers,sisters, wives and friends never talk about. its deep, intense and passionate BUT definitely with some flaws or other wise this could have been a great movie. AND yes it doesn't reminded me of Precious i mean come on people grow up. Go see it for just MR Tyler perry.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written bycece' June 12, 2011


just great
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent of a 12 year old Written byamyjack November 11, 2010
a must see for girls 17 and up, I would not take my 12yr old son to see it. Too much sexual references. Overall a good inspirational movie for adult viewers
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide