Oprah Winfrey (THE COLOR PURPLE) and Danny Glover (LETHAL WEAPON IV, THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS) play the unforgettable lead roles in a powerful, widely acclaimed cinematic triumph from Jonathan Demme -- the Academy Award(R)-win... more »ning director of THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. On a difficult journey to find freedom, Sethe (Winfrey) is constantly confronted by the secrets that have haunted her for years. Then, an old friend from out of her past (Glover) unexpectedly reenters her life. With his help, Sethe may finally be able to rediscover who she is and regain her lost sense of hope. Also featuring outstanding performances from Thandie Newton (GRIDLOCK'D) and Lisa Gay Hamilton (TV's THE PRACTICE) -- you'll agree with critics everywhere who've hailed this landmark adaptation of Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel as one of the year's finest films!« less
"This story holds a deeper meaning. It is about something coming back to haunt us all. It is about sins that we commit that never really go away until we can learn to forgive ourselves and those who have offended us. It is about putting the pieces of the mirror of life together and looking deeply into it to see what is really in our souls.
Supernatural evil forces surrounding us can scare us in movies, but what should really frighten us is how we have treated people throughout time. How we have enslaved people in many ways and have treated them as less than human. This story echoes these thoughts.
This is a deeply moving film that must be given your full attention to understand the complexities. I was literally captivated: body, soul and spirit. I was glued to the couch, too scared to go anywhere. ;>
The opening scenes are very violent and shocking. If you didn't read the reviews you would really be wondering if you wanted to keep watching the movie as I did. However, they cleverly showed you only enough to make you terribly curious. What throws a dog against the wall? That is why I was watching to find out what the heck had just happened. It is like a puzzle and you have to pick up a piece here and there. For the mind that analyzes everything...this is a dream movie.
The story does not play out in a sequence of events as some stories do. It slips back into time, dragging out the horrific past and adding bits here and there to make you want to understand the entire story. I thought this was very cleverly done.
The basic story running on the first level is about Sethe's life. She is a slave who escapes from a cruel Kentucky plantation called: "Sweet Home." Paul D was also a slave and yet he seems to have more inner strength even though he has seen it all. Sethe is obviously very troubled from her experiences and is determined not to let her children experience the horrors of slavery. She and her family are living on a plot outside of Cincinnati, Ohio eight years after the end of the Civil War.
When slave hunters threaten to take her children back to the plantation, she kills one of her daughters.
She continues to live with her second daughter Denver after her two sons run away. The murdered child then haunts their shack with a red glow until she actually returns in bodily form. Reality and the supernatural are blended together to make this the most creepy movie you will ever see because the creepiness is so subtle it takes you off guard.
Oprah is incredible as an actress. Kimberley Elise (Denver) and Thandie Newton are incredible in their roles. I have never been so freaked out by anyone's facial expressions in my life. The things Thandie Newton can do with her face rival the best. Kimberley's eyes were at times almost ethereal. Danny Glover adds a much needed calm to the movie as he seems to be living in reality most of the time.
Perhaps this movie did not do well because it is more for those who are very patient and caters to a smaller audience with eclectic tastes. This is not really for the mainstream audience. I thought the movie was quite long. Some movies are best viewed at home when they are of this length. The setting in which you view a movie is often very important to your enjoyment.
Rare, vivid, provocative, authentic, intelligent, complex, artistic, scary, emotional, beautiful, sad, delirious, confusing, secretive and overall, great story telling.
~The Rebecca Review"
Don't let box office failure trick you.
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 12/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was so disappointed that my copy of "Beloved" did not mention winning any film awards. I think this movie is one of the most underappreciated works of cinema. It should be deemed a major contribution to women's films and black films. I cried watching the film just because so much of it stirred my emotions.
Critics have said that viewers could not relate to the Beloved character. I usually do not care for Thandie Newton. She's usually just a pretty face in damsel-in-distress roles. However, she really pushed the envelope with this role. It took a lot of strength to play a ghostly woman-baby. It takes tremendous ability to perform the googly-eyed, infantil manners that she makes. In the theater, I screamed twice, once at her entrance and once toward her exit. Additionally, I think Beloved the character may have been a metaphor for us African Americans. She wanted to know about her past. She wanted to know why she was separated from her family. She was one of a kind and shrouded in controversy.
Others have said that the movie did not focus enough upon slavery as the book did. I am quite sure that if more of the horrors of slavery were shown, then people of all races, but especially non-African-Americans, would be scared off and make illogical claims about "playing the race card." This movie does a fantastic job in showing the catch-22 placed upon 19th-century Black American women. It shows how even working-class communities can punish their own members for not enacting middle-class values. Further, if the viewer looks carefully the racism of the time is continuously hinted at throughout the film.
Oprah plays well against her persona. She's the only African-American female billionaire, yet she's playing a poor ex-slave. She is usually seen in glamourous outfits, yet here she and the other characters wear no makeup. On her show, she's portrayed as in control of the world. In this film, her mental state is shattered and even her body can't control itself. Oprah is not a mother, yet she does a wonderful job in showing a mother's unending love for her daughters. I love all of Kimberly Elise's films, Set It Off, Bojangles, you name it. This actress has the Midas touch and this film is one more example of that.
This film, despite the computer graphics, showed the beauty of Midwestern flora and fauna. The actresses wore rich indigo dress and ornate hairstyles. This was a strong period piece. The script is filled with rich dialogue. "Your love is too thick, Sethe." "Love is or it isn't. Thin love ain't no love at all." "She my best thing." "No, you're your best thing." "Sometimes I think she was my sister and sometimes I know she was."
"Beloved" is becoming one of the most read texts in American English classes. I think this film will help students understand a rigorous author like Morrison. However, because this movie only shows a slice of the book, students will still have to do their reading and not just rely on the film."
This is the best movie I've ever seen.
donna | bronx, ny | 06/21/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first read Beloved when it appeared in 1988 and I was about 14 or 15. I was terrified yet mesmerized by the novel and have read it over and over again. When I heard that Oprah was having it made into a movie, I knew I had to see it. She and the rest of the cast did a fantastic job, particularly Kimberly Elise and Thandie Newton. And the musical score was so intense that I had to buy it!! Beloved is a hauntingly beautiful and moving story that will never leave you. It is not only a ghost story, but also an affecting tale of how the memory can function to hold people captive even after they are free from slavery. Lots of people didn't like the film because of its manner of presentation. Yes, some of the scenes are ugly--but that's the whole point--that's the way life was for many Black people. But behind the ugliness and the sadness, there is beauty. Listen to the message in Baby Suggs holy's preaching and you'll understand everything."
TYRO99@aol.com | Dorchester, MA USA | 06/08/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For those who did not understand or found it difficult to follow the story line of this hauntingly strange yet beautiful tale, I'm sorry for their loss. Had I closed my mind to this film after its first five minutes or because of the critics reviews, I too would have missed this powerful drama. Winfrey, Glover and the entire cast have my gratitude and respect for bringing Toni Morrison's story to film. Sethe, Paul Dee and Denver were wonderful strong characters. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. My eyes beheld Beloved and found it a beauiful well done work of art. Like many, I allowed the critics to discourage me from the theater and almost ignored it completely. The shock of several scenes depicting the horrors and cruelity of slavery wained after my first several viewings, but I continued to find the story powerful, sad, joyous, strange and hauntingly beautiful. I can't seem to get enough and have returned again and again. My purchase of this movie will be a great addition to my most selective library of films.This film has stayed with me. I though it should be given a chance and have asked several friends who also passed it up to view Beloved just for their opinion. It seems more people than not truly enjoy this film once they give themselves permission to view it with an opened mind and look pass the five second dog scene. It's a shame Winfrey, Glover and the entire cast were so overlooked for their contributions. This film should be given a second chance. What do you think?"
How can you not love this movie
discoskull | Atlanta, GA USA | 10/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After seeing this haunting, eery movie (I know I didn't spell that right), I can only say I was wonder-struck. I was in awe. To gore hounds or action movie fanatics it might seem slow, but if you actually sit down to watch an actual movie and an actual story, you will not be dissapointed. The feeling of haunted beauty never leaves you throughout this movie; it comes in over-powering waves and trickles into your mind like a mellon colly dream. OK, don't think that this is at all a "black chick movie" or any nonsense like that; I myself am a white guy, and I absolutly loved it; don't let anything get in the way of your watching this movie!!! I'm a guy, and I actually burst into tears three times while watching this masterpeice. One was when the woman helped Sethe deliever Denver into the world (don't make fun of me!). When Baby Sues was talking to the crowd of people in the woods at the end, that got me. Then, while the credits were rolling, I sat back and thought about the movie as a whole, about sad, haunted (there's that word again) beauty of the story. I can't remember her name, but the young woman who played Beloved - wonderful! Her performance sent chills down my back! Astounding performences to all the cast...This is a terrifically wonderful movie."