Beloved

I saw the movie Beloved years ago when it was first released. I remember Oprah and the cast of the movie on her The Oprah Winfrey Show. The thing I remember most is that the cast kept crying when explaining how they felt making the movie. It was apparent the movie meant something special to them. I’d never seen any cast for any movie be interviewed and cry like that. There must be something about this movie, I thought (and think), that perhaps haunts them. Perhaps the cast received abundantly more than they expected from this project, a project they’ll never forget. I also remember the movie being an introduction actors Thandie Newton and Kimberly Elise. Both did terrifically, and Thandie was remarkable in her role as Beloved. Outstanding.
Watching the movie again years later, I wonder what was not in the script that was in the book. Cinematically I would give the movie a B-, or maybe a B+. But that’ just because a few weren’t as clear. I wanted to know more about this place called Sweet Home. I got the feeling it was an evil place where Sethe and Paul D left but I only received glimpses of the evil there. I also wanted a little more background on Halle. He was the father to the children, but was he a father to all of them? Did I miss something in the movie? Was Beloved a mixed child? She looked mixed and I wondered if Sethe was raped. There was a scene where I thought she was being but it was a flashback scene and the camera was overhead so it was hard to tell. I also wondered why Sethe killed the child Beloved but not Denver, since Denver was the one child still crying and apparently alive when the men entered the shed. Anyway, those were just a few things I noticed that I had questions about. I remember Toni Morrison being interviewed on Oprah about the movie. Her answers clearly showed she didn’t seem to like the movie’s interpretation of her work, but she was respectful about the attempt.
The scene where Denver states she wanted to get out of the house and feel alive was a touching scene. I was happy for her when she finally did leave the house. Her having to pay for the sin of her mother was unfair; although her mother felt she was protecting her from the criticism of the townspeople by keeping her in the house. But still, she was protecting her daughter from a sin she committed. But when Beloved came in the flesh conditions changed, and Denver was forced to use survival tactics to make life better for herself and her mother when the money ran out.
The carnival scene was my favorite. I loved seeing the hope and smiles on both Denver and Sethe, a moment I knew Denver wanted most. Once Sethe had paid for her sin of killing Beloved, it was time for the “ghost” of Beloved to go away for good, thanks to the townspeople who once punished her with their sneers. I also believe Sethe running after Mr. Bodwin (thinking it was Schoolmaster) in was a way to show she would kill him before she ever killed her own again, and that is what Beloved wanted in the first place. Her mother’s love. And later, it was time for Sethe to heal. And Paul D would help with that. A new life for all was in progress.

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Brandon Hughes © 2019