Projections - Movie Reviews


Based on Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name, Beloved tells the distressing story of one woman's journey from slavery to freedom.  Sethe (Oprah Winfrey) traveled fearlessly to freedom fifteen years earlier, yet she remains enslaved by memories of her tormentors.  Living in the house she inherited from her mother-in-law, she and her daughter Denver (Kimberly Elise) are painfully isolated from the community.  To make matters worse, angry spirits subject to violent outbursts haunt their home.

When all appears to look dark and bleak, Paul D (Danny Glover) appears - a friend and fellow slave at the Sweet Home plantation.  The two quickly bond over shared memories and mutual concern.  As Oprah Winfrey says, "Paul D's arrival is the opening of Sethe's heart to the possibility of hoping." Adds Danny Glover, "The love Paul D has for Sethe is a kind of redemptive love.  It becomes even more than heroic, that these two people have known each other in the ugliness of and sordidness of what they've experienced."

The warmth of their growing love is interrupted abruptly by the emergence of Beloved (Thandie Newton), the spirit of Sethe's long-dead daughter.  Since I had not read the book prior to seeing the movie, I spent most of the film speculating about what horror Beloved could have endured to end up so deeply disturbed.  When you see Beloved you will understand how unsettling this guess work was.

This film was confusing, visually unattractive and extremely troubling.  While I don't believe the horrors of slavery should be subdued in order to please audiences, I feel that the lack of hope in this story makes it an intolerable film to watch.



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