Purple Rain (1984) – Review

3 Stars

With the recent passing of musical icon Prince, Warner Bros. and Cinemark theaters have teamed for a one-week engagement of theatrical runs for the 1984 hit, Purple Rain. The seminal film and soundtrack in Prince’s vast catalogue is still as engrossing as it was in its heyday. This autobiographical musical is brimming with beautiful music and imagery, while otherwise dealing with backstage theatrics that are mean-spirited and awkward.

Dipping into his own upbringing, The Kid (Prince) is shown dealing with a tumultuous home life, his abusive father (Clarence Williams III) is an abominable and towering figure in the young man’s life. As the Kid’s career begins to take off, he becomes smitten with a beautiful vocalist (Apollonia). Their love affair is alternately sweet and clumsy, a lakeshore first date is laughable, but the power of several key concert-style sequences underlines everything that the dialogue is incapable of expressing.

Prince’s Oscar-winning music takes center stage throughout the film, with such hits as “When Doves Cry”, “Let’s Go Crazy”, and of course the title song. Purple Rain‘s greatest strength is in presenting an intimate concert-film around an enigmatic presence. You leave the theater feeling a bit closer to the man, saddened for the loss, and headed to find the soundtrack.

Director: Albert Magnoli
Stars: Prince, Apollonia Kotero, Clarence Williams III

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