Oprah Winfrey (THE COLOR PURPLE) and Danny Glover (LETHAL WEAPON IV) play the unforgettable lead roles in a powerful, widely acclaimed cinematic triumph from Jonathan Demme -- the Academy Award(R)-winning 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!
This layered film, a labor of love from director Jonathan Demme and star Oprah Winfrey, covers a lot of turf in its nearly three-hour running time. Part slavery fable, part mother-daughter tale, part ghost story, Beloved
demands an audience's full attention from its dramatic, slightly bewildering opening, when a family dog comes down on the wrong side of some angry, unseen force. But Demme and his talented cast provide an unforgettable payoff for those who surrender.
The film traces the life of Sethe (played in her middle years by Winfrey), a former slave who has rebuilt what seems to be a peaceful, productive life in Ohio. Yet through chilling, sparing use of flashback, Demme slowly unveils, as does the Toni Morrison masterpiece on which the film is based, the horrors of Sethe's former life, and the terrible event that led to the haunting of Sethe's home.
While the horrors of slavery and the bloody event in Sethe's family leave undeniable impressions, the film's brilliance is also evidenced in smaller, equally satisfying ways. Rachel Portman's spiritual-influenced score is as uplifting as it is haunting, and the glimpses of the post-slavery African American world--as with a simple family outing to a local carnival, or a ladies' sewing-and-gospel circle--make this a treat for the intellect as well as the heart. The members of the cast, especially Kimberly Elise as Sethe's struggling daughter and Thandie Newton as the mysterious title character, are supremely affecting. --Anne Hurley