on June 9, 2004
It took me a long time to watch the movie Beloved due to the fact that it wasn't easily available in South Africa, I truelly enjoyed this movie and was really happy with the way it stayed true to the book which is one of my all time favourites, I've read the book so many times I even know most of the lines, I mostly was anxious to see the movie cos I wanted to see how they would manage to bring such a story to life, thankfully I wasn't dissapointed, the only problem I have with the movie was the casting of Danny Glover in the role of Paul Dee, I strongly feel that he spoiled the movie,they would have done better to cast another actor to the role, If you want to see poetry in motion(which I deeply believe the book is) then you have to watch this movie, Bravo to everyone(except Mr Glover but for whom I would have given this film 5 stars)who was involved in the making of this film. Well done for an outstanding protrayal of what I truely believe must have been the hardest novel ever to bring to life.
on December 5, 2001
Unequivocally one of the best films ever made. I read BELOVED before I saw the movie and to everyone who said they "loved" the book but did not understand the film, you obviously did not understand what you were reading to begin with. Toni Morrison's talent is undeniable so you can save your praises. Oprah Winfrey read the book in one sitting and then called Toni Morrison about some parts she didnt understand and after Toni's explanation she said she was going to make it into a film. I think Oprah who read the book several times and people with common sense understand the metaphorical meanings that BELOVED represents. I think the main reason as to why BELOVED the film was not well received by the mainstream is because you have to have a heart in order to feel a heart. And too many individuals are callous and self-absorbed. After all, this is the country that enslaved millions of people, tortured them, tore thier families apart, stripped them of thier culture, raped and brutalized black women and men to this day. Furthermore, legalized slavery would still exist in this country but now its on a more insidious level that is just as if not more destructive. I believe Jonathan Demme wanted to direct BELOVED because he seems like a good person who did not let his society define him. I think people(especially of caucasian decent) allow themselves to read novels without ever being moved by them because its like they're disconnected but can enjoy the language of a writer yet at the same time not allow themselves to be moved by the subject matter to do something in relation to it. And that is true of film as well. But because movies are more blatant, when watching a movie such as BELOVED, the core of who you are, whoever that might be rises to the surface. I guess thats why Oprah kept saying that watching BELOVED is an experience. But most people and her main audience didnt care to see it anyway. But BELOVED'S premonition was that evil and ignorance would still persist from the PEOPLE WITHOUT SKIN.
on October 24, 2001
Beloved is one of the best films I have ever seen dealing with the controversial and often ignored issue of slavery. It is ignored because, as many critics have pointed out it is something both white and black people in the United States try very hard to forget. This probably explains why this film did not do that well on its theatrical release. In following Toni Morrison's novel very closely the film thoroughly succeeds as a literary adaptaion. The film has been criticised for being disjointed and incomprehensible however one cannot begin to imagine the suffering of slaves, and the total incomprehensibility of why this horrifying violence and abuse had to be carried on their shoulders. Slavery at the very least left slaves, even freed ones, psychologically scarred, bewildered, confused and lost from their culture and their families. One can hardly expect a film attempting to deal with these issues then to be straight forward. The perfromances are all excellent particularly from Winfrey and Glover but also from Elise and Newton. Newton in particular is superb at portraying a tormented incarnation of a baby ghost locked inside the body of an eighteen year old, trying to discover, who she is, how she can characterise herself without having known her mother, her family or why she was left behind. Her struggle is symbolic of all slaves, trying to find their identity as African-Americans in a country which, at that time did not even recognise them as people but as, one of the characters describes Sethe, animals. My only negative comment about the film is that it wasn't long enough to deal with the issues thoroughly but then no film ever has or can in regards to slavery. That is a minor complaint. See it and judge for yourself.
on June 30, 2003
Johnathan Demme is a brilliant director (proof: this film and "Silence of the Lambs") who is capable of creating eerie spectrums of character and images that will continue to haunt long after the film is over. Oprah Winfrey (to all of our shock and amazement) is an unbelievably wonderful actress (proof: this film and "The Color Purple") who should appear in many more films, but, undoubtedly, is preoccupied elsewhere. I nearly wish she would stop her talk show and become a full-time actress, she needs to make more feature film appearances. Danny Glover is able to show an indefinable range of character (proof: this film and the fact that he has also been in the "Lethal Weapon" 4some as well as appear in a role as profound as "The Color Purple"). Thandie Newton is a rising star that brightens up the screen even with a dark and moody performance, and should be noted as a powerhouse screen presence in the making. Every player brings a large helping of vision to this book-turned-film adaptation. There are so many layers in this 3-hr drama that you could (and I have) watch it 5 times and take an entirely different view away once it has ended. Brilliant film. Sorely snubbed by Oscar when it came to production, writing, and acting. This is what a real film is supposed to look like. Filmmakers: watch and learn:-)
on March 15, 2002
but they do make a good go of it. Winfrey's acting, the sets, the costuming-- all of these things are fabulous. I'm not sure that you would understand where Beloved comes from if you haven't read the book, or where she goes. I'm also not sure you quite get the relationships between women, which are crucial, in the movie. You also miss the difficult but genius "middle passage" section of the book. BUT I know, books and movies are different.
This is a ghost story, and just didn't leave me feeling creepy enough. I don't know what would have been better, but something was missing of the chills down the spine variety. Still, this is a great movie, and I think Oprah's version of the "tree" on Sethe's back is probably worth watching the movie for in itself. And, one thing that made sense finally for me which I didn't get in the book was when the men "took her milk." A big lightbulb went on in my head-- oh!! So it's definitely a watcher, if not a "buyer."
on March 3, 2002
When a Hard Working Woman named Sethe (Oprah Winfrey) tries to forget about her Dark Abused Past. When she meets a Odd young Unsitable Woman (Thandie Newton) comes to live at her home with the family, the Husband-Paul (Danny Glover) and her daughter-Denver (Kimberly Elise) come to accept her. But as it turns out that the Odd young Woman behaving in Child-Like and Walking Awkwardly but Sethe becomes to know her well, there`s something in her past about this Strange Woman.
Directed by Oscar-Winner:Johathan Demme (Something Wild, The Silence of the Lambs, Phildelphia) made a intense drama, which is Well Acted but the Uneasy mixed with the Supernatural Theme might be a real letdown by Modern Audiences. The film is Stylish and Well Done. The Film's True High-Light is the Cinematography by Tak Fujimoto (The Sixth Sense). This is a Evociate Prose and Emotionally danse story but this is not for Everyone but Those who like the Critically Acclaimed Novel by Toni Morrison, will likely to Enjoy this Underrated Adapation of this Movie. Look Sharp for Actor:Wes Bentley (American Beauty). Charles Napier and Jason Robards appears Unbilled. Grade:B+.
on September 11, 2001
Beloved is a true masterpiece. I saw it in the theater about four times because I was so profoundly moved by this film. It has some of the greatest performances in cinema history. Especially Thandie Newton, Oprah Winfrey, Kimberly Elise, Danny Glover, Beah Richards, and Lisa Gaye Hamilton. People's reaction to the film shows the level of ignorance, hatred, and sheer evil that still exists in this country. It is so offensive to me that the African Holocaust has been intentionally ignored because racist idiots contol the media and privileged white people dont want to see themselves for who they really are and where they come from. The response to Beloved is just a reflection on American society as a whole. Which seems to ignore truth, perpetuate evil and ignorance in all facets of life and continue to pass it down to thier children. Everyone involved with Beloved should recieve some sort of special recognition award for the blatant absence of Beloved at all the publicized award shows in 1999.
Beloved will remain just as truth always does.
on February 7, 2001
I had such high hopes for this film, having read the novel and finding it to be one of the most beautifully written and poetic books I've ever read. Toni Morrison's award-winning BELOVED is a tough read but a rewarding one.
I'm giving the movie version two stars because of the attempt at making this book a film. I know that most movies pale in comparison to their paper inspirations, but this is a book that shouldn't have -- couldn't have -- been made into a quality adaption. Yes, you could make it a good slave/ghost story, but to keep out the beauty of Morrison's language and sentence structuring would be a travesty. Kudos for Demme to realize this, but by trying to involve the poetry and style of the novel, he's made a mess of a film. And the beautiful and talented Thandie Newton is ... distracting. Her personification of Beloved borders on comical every time she tries to communicate with other characters. Some things are better left to the reader's mind I guess.
I highly recommend everyone reads BELOVED the novel, then you will understand how poorly the screen adaption is.
on October 15, 2000
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.
on August 7, 2000
It's really too bad that this movie isn't appreciated more. Many were off-put it seems by its brutality, darkness and ghost-story feel. It blows my mind that so many critics dropped the ball on this one. I've never read Toni Morrison's celebrated novel, but I could immediately tell from the first few scenes that the film was rather faithful. It has detail and intensity, and a depth that is characteristic of great literature. From the first ghost scene with the dog I was immediately enthralled and curious as to what this story was about and what it was trying to say, and just as importantly, how it was saying it. This story works on a deeper level. Morrison's use of ghosts to reflect internal workings is terribly inventive and interesting. The ghosts and stuff, starkly beautiful and strange, captured through Demme's powerful eye, do not need to be read as real or not real. Sure, they have a power of themselves over the viewer, which Demme does wonderfully. But, my point is, this is based on a book, and the ghosts more than anything are metaphors which paint and convey the internal pain and suffering of the truth. This film wonderfully shows us that somethng like slavery and rape can't just be forgotten or healed easily or quickly. These horrors, true horrors, persist through time and space, they are ghosts that move through history. And the more we suppress them the more powerful they become. That in itself, even without respect to Morrison's impassioned story about the survival of the American African slave, is in itself, a deep and profound message. "Beloved" is filled with these sometimes horrible truths, but it never forsakes humanity, it never levels an accusatory finger. The brutal truths are also wonderfully tempered with tender moments. One of the best in my opinion being the spiritual gathering of freed slaves, an eloquent vision of the power of love and community. If you don't get what I'm saying, you will as you get further and further into this film. Movies and books that work on this level deserve our attention. And despite what Leonard Maltin writes, Winfrey's performance is awesome. This movie simply demands more out of us. Give it and you will be rewarded with a great fusion of the ugly and the beautiful in search of deeper spiritual truths.