Directed by Jonathan Demme
Running Time: 2:51
Rated R for violent images, sexuality and nudity

So I'm not sure what to make of Beloved. With all the Oscar hype behind it, with Oprah Winfrey starring, Jonathan Demme directing and based on a novel by Toni Morrison, I thought it would be the kind of movie that would absolutely make me fall in love with it. Instead I left the theater sort of wondering what just happened. Which isn't to say the movie was bad, not by a long shot, just a little confusing.

Oprah stars as Sethe, a former slave who is now living with her daughter Denver (Kimberly Elise) in a haunted house in Ohio. The house is haunted by the spirit of her dead daughter. From her past comes Danny Glover (Paul D) who moves into the house and the two of them fall in love. Then out of nowhere, a girl appears on their doorstep. Her name is Beloved (Thandie Newton). From there the movie starts to go wild. Who is this girl and why did she come here? I sort of guessed who she was when she first appeared, but it took a while for me to confirm that suspicion. It took a lot of back story to put everything together and in an almost 3 hour movie, there's a lot of back story.

This was the kind of movie that tells you a story in the beginning, but leaves something important out. Then that part would be explained later, but something else important would be left out. And so on and so on. It got extremely confusing at times, and when I left the theater I still hadn't figured everything out. However that night while in bed it came to me (you know, during that time when you're in bed, not yet asleep and your mind just wanders? Mine wandered over to Beloved). I don't want to ruin the movie for anyone, so I won't tell you what I think the story was about, but it took me a while to figure it out.

Forgetting the story for a while, the rest of the movie was incredible. The acting was superb. And not from who you might think. Winfrey and Glover did great jobs, but you sort of expected that. The two people who surprised me with their performances where Thandie Newton and Kimberly Elise. Elise had this look in her eyes where you could see into her soul. And Newton played Beloved as it was supposed to be played. From playful and innocent in the beginning, to demonic at the end. I hadn't heard of either actress before this movie, but I expect to hear a lot from them in the future.

The look of the film was wonderful. The interior of the house was full of detail and character. And the flashbacks were shot in a way to make them look even more horrific than the stories they told. Everytime there was a flashback, I got chills from just the look of the flashback (except for the boatride scene).

So there you have it. A wonderfully acted, wonderfully shot film, that at times got really confusing. I review movies based more on feelings that criticism. And when I walked out of Beloved I didn't really know what I felt. Even a couple of days afterwards, I couldn't put into words what I felt. I guess what it comes down to is, it was a wonderfully made film, that just left me feeling, nothing.

Buy the book Beloved by Toni Morrison at
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