This movie is soooo 80's and watching this last night had me dying while bringing back some fond memories. This semi-biographical tale of Prince's struggling to make it in the music industry is hit and miss throughout. For those who haven't already seen this; the film is really nothing more than a feature-length music video marking Prince's acting debut; he is essentially playing himself here, and is surprisingly charming. Prince is no actor...he mumbles his lines and resorts to melodrama in serious scenes...but his performance truly conveys a great deal of pain and conflict.
For a musician in his first role, he is actually quite good. Morris Day is a virtual scene-stealer; the "Time" leader plays, who else, Morris Day and his performance is inspired and funny. Prince's then-band mates Wendy and Lisa also shine as well as Apollonia who is adequate as The Kid's love interest. Clarence Williams III ("The Mod Squad") gives the best performance here as The Kid's father; his rage, confusion, and guilt truly come through in a brilliant performance, and his role should have been bigger.
"Purple Rain" is certainly an ego trip for its star. But Prince certainly deserves to have a big head because the music in "Purple Rain" is nothing less than awe-inspiring. He deservedly won an Oscar for his score, and the excitement of his live shows are truly on display here. The Time is also fun to watch; "Purple Rain" includes their performances of two of their biggest hits, "The Bird" and "Jungle Love."
"Purple Rain" is not without its imperfection. The film doesn't fully investigate The Kid's home life with the exception of a few throwaway scenes. Despite the charms of most of the performers, the acting is amateurish and often laughable. Despite its shortcomings, "Purple Rain" is a modern classic, the quintessential 80's picture. If you get a chance, rent or buy this DVD, the quality is great as well as the music.