Go to Homepage   Beloved: Long, Odd and Most Unfair

  Crescent Blues Movie Views

it's official. Life sucks.

If life were fair -- which it's not -- Oprah Winfrey would have to pick one:

a.) She can be rich.

b.) She can have her own TV show.

c.) She gets to be a really, really good actress.

d.) She can have the ability to juggle.

It's not fair that she can do all of the above. Um, okay, so maybe she can only do the first three. But it's still pretty unfair to the rest of us, who can't afford to make their favorite books into movies. Just you wait until I win the lottery, baby, and I'll get my chance to make that Where's Waldo? movie the way it should be made!

Oh, yeah, the movie review…

Beloved is a ghost story. Oprah plays Sethe, a former slave who escaped her masters with her children and went to Cleveland. (I'd make some snide remark about escaping the hell of slavery only to go to Cleveland, but that would be in the worst of taste. Plus, I live in Scranton.)

When her masters come looking for her, Sethe takes the children and tries to kill them, since she'd rather see them dead than as slaves. Noble, sure, but when the masters don't take any of them, she's left to deal with the guilt of trying to kill her children, and actually succeeding with one of her daughters.

Fast forward 18 years. Sethe lives with her surviving daughter (Kimberly Elise), who spends a lot of time whining and moping around the house -- typical teenage behavior, even in the 19th century. Sethe's two sons ran away because the dead child's spirit haunts the house. The ghost of the dead girl throws plates against the wall, changes every light into house into a black light and sings "I'm Henry the Eighth, I Am" into the wee hours of the morning.

The ghost scares away anyone who gets near it. Knock on the front door, the entire house makes noise. Walk inside, and the front hallway glows red. I'd bet that if they had a doorbell and you rang it, a disco ball would descend from the ceiling as "It's Raining Men" came wailing out from nowhere.

At this point, two new characters show up -- Paul D (Danny Glover), who becomes Sethe's bed bunny after only twenty minutes or so, and Beloved (Thandie Newton). Beloved, a strange young woman dressed in black, spends about five minutes talking like Linda Blair in The Exorcist and the rest of the movie doing a great impression of my three-year-old cousin.

Ready, set... let the wackiness commence!

Sure, it's chock full of good performances -- Oprah, Danny Glover, the dog that the ghost smacks around. I'll bet it's the perfect interpretation of Toni Morrison's book. But at three hours long, you'd better bring a date, because someone is definitely going to have to massage your butt afterwards.

Jennifer Matarese

Share your views on this movie.

Readers respond:

I loved this movie!  It was beautifully shot on the one hand, and the plot was really skillfully unfolded, keeping the tension and suspense high, on the other. I can imagine that it probably is a difficult tale to tell, without getting too sappy, hostile or apologetic.

I think it's one of those rare movies that is actually as good as or even better than the book.

Jennifer, the previous reviewer missed out on  something.  Sethe actually killed three of her four children.  Those two sons didn't run away.

Melanie Dunn

Yes, they did run away.  After the masters left, the two boys revived. Only the baby died.  Denver and the boys lived on to suffer through that goofy disco ghost.  The boys got so afraid that they ran off in the first five minutes of the movie.  Trust me, that much, I remember.

Jennifer Matarese