Beloved (1998)

Directed by
Jonathan Demme

This film is an intense, intriguing drama about Sethe (Oprah Winfrey) a slave who escapes, with her children from Kentucky to Ohio. The film is structured around the moving story of Sethe's life, and the people she meets along the way. The story begins when the master who had beaten her and tortured her for years comes looking for her. To save her children from the abuse she kills them. Only one child actually dies her two-year-old daughter. The two boy's that survive get away, while the youngest daughter Denver (Kimberly Elise) stays with Sethe.

The two live for the next eighteen years in a house that's set on a busy road outside Cincinnati, and it is yet so distant from the bustle and growth around them. An unhappy, wilful ghost, but not a malicious one haunts the house; as Sethe says, "It's not evil. Just sad." The ghost is presumably the daughter who was killed.

Paul D (Danny Glover) then shows up at Sethe's house. He is a former slave and friend. Their relationship soon develops to a more in-depth one.

When the family take a trip to a carnival on there return they find a strange, childlike, uncommunicative, woman, dressed in Victorian black, is waiting for them going by the name of "Beloved" (Thandie Newton). Beloved is the physical manifestation of the ghost that has haunted Sethe for so long...the ghost of guilt, the embodiment of shame and hope.

The film is an amazing mix of the natural, unnatural and supernatural all at once. Sethe's journey out of slavery epitomises the struggle of African Americans to find freedom at the end of the 19th century. There are some unanswered questions, which linger. This is because the story is told in non-linearly form, the film uses flashbacks to explain the events of Sethe's life. This is effective in building strong female characters through the film, thus creating the message of the power within women's hearts. This moving film is based on Toni Morrison's novel.

Written by ,

Genre: Film

Running Time: 175 minutes (approx)

Production Year: 1998

2/5 Stars

Classification: 15 Certificate

Production Country: USA

Filmed in Colour


Image for Oprah WinfreyOprah Winfrey...Sethe
Image for Danny GloverDanny Glover...Paul D Garner
Image for Thandie NewtonThandie Newton...Beloved
Kimberly Elise...Denver
Beah Richards...Baby Suggs aka Grandma Baby
Lisagay Hamilton...Younger Sethe
Albert Hall...Stamp Paid
Irma P. Hall...Ella
Carol Jean Lewis...Janey Wagon
Kessia Randall...Amy Denver