Most helpful critical review
One of the worst movies I have ever seen
on April 27, 2001
Before I begin my review of the atrocity that is Oprah Winfrey's Beloved, let me just say that I am a horror movie fan. I've watched many terrible, gory films. However, there has never been a film so hideous that I simply couldn't finish it, no matter how hard I willed myself. That, however, was before I saw THIS. I honestly have no idea where to begin insulting this film because there are so many things wrong with it. Let it just be said that this is a perfect example of what happens when a self indulgent star, a self indulgent director, a pompous cinematographer, and a clueless screenwriter are given carte blanche to film whatever they chose. The result is a terribly photographed, incoherent, ugly, violent, three hour soup opera with no apparent purpose other to repulse the audience. Worse, the film is painstakingly loyal to Morrison's book. Characters seem to spew bodily fluids at intervals of about ten minutes and these include: puss, blood, urine, drool, feces, vomit, and in a very graphic scene, birth fluid. This would be much easier to stomach if the acting were good, and some of it is. Unfortunately, the few decent performances are underscored by lots of terrible ones. Particularly, the scenes involving Beloved are rendered unintentionally hilarious by her zombie like schtic of drooling, talking as though severly mentally retarded, and screaming hysterically while looking directly into the camera. Another female character who supposedly helps Sethe escape slavery in the first place runs around ranting incoherently about velvet and overemoting like a manic depressive on hard drugs. As if all this weren't enough, the director and cinematographer seem intent upon overstylizing every single shot. Some shots are colored and executed so conspicuously that one wonders if the actors weren't tempted to stop midway through and say: "by the way, this shot took a lot of work to create, so you better enjoy it". The result is blatantly manipulative and borderline unwatchable. Finally, the music in this film is terrible. Scene after scene is illustrated by the same stereotypical african american "gospel" singing which starts out as pretty, becomes intrusive, and then gets annoying. Soon, even this feels contrived, and we are left just wishing scenes would end. Ultimately, I have one point and only one point to make: DO NOT SEE THIS FILM, DO NOT RENT THIS FILM, DEFINITELY DO NOT LET YOUR CHILDERN SEE IT. If you do you will suffer worse than any of the characters depicted.