Beloved (1998)

R  |   |  Drama, History, Horror  |  16 October 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 5,980 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 207 user | 77 critic | 24 from

Based on the book by Toni Morrison, in which a slave is visited by the spirit of her deceased daughter.



(novel), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Yada Beener ...
Denver aged 9
Emil Pinnock ...
Howard aged 14
Calen Johnson ...
Buglar aged 13
Baby Suggs
Kessia Embry ...
Amy Denver (as Kessia Kordelle)
Schoolteacher's Nephew
Younger Sethe (as Lisa Gay Hamilton)
Tyler Hinson ...
Baby Beloved


After Paul D. finds his old slave friend Sethe in Ohio and moves in with her and her daughter Denver, a strange girl comes along by the name of "Beloved". Sethe and Denver take her in and then strange things start to happen... Written by Jeremy Cohen <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

spirit | farm | freedom | slavery | ohio | See All (148) »


The past has a life of its own.


Drama | History | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent images, sexuality and nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 October 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Agapimeni  »

Box Office


$53,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$8,165,551 (USA) (16 October 1998)


£148,377 (UK) (12 March 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Oprah Winfrey purchased the film rights to the novel in 1987. She claims that while reading the book, she could only picture herself as Sethe and Danny Glover as Paul D. It took her ten years to get the film made, which she finally had to produce herself. See more »


In the scene with a deer in the field, a car is visible driving by in the upper right hand corner. See more »


Denver: You won't ever leave us will ya?
Beloved: No never, this is where I AM.
See more »


Referenced in Siskel & Ebert: Episode dated 24 October 1998 (1998) See more »


Little Rice, Little Bean
Written by Toni Morrison & Rachel Portman
Performed by Danny Glover
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

An alarming, well-directed motion picture
19 April 1999 | by (NAS Whidbey Island, WA) – See all my reviews

I found it difficult to understand the movie, and some of the dialogue, but it mattered little. I wish I'd read the book--perhaps I will, but I don't think so. A film must stand by itself, or it is not a film.

"Beloved" has long passages of greatness. First, it contains one of the best and most fascinating performances I've seen in years, given by Thandie Newton. She spent most of "Gridlock'd" in a coma, unfortunately, and that's the most notable role she's had until this one. Her first speaking (if you'll call it that) line is gripping, frightening, and amusing, and she plays a mental defective in a manner which I've never seen before. She has the loudest, rudest character, and many actresses would be put off by some of the things she must do throughout the film. However, our attention is also held by her quiet moments, as well as a few shots where the camera is content to gaze tranquilly into her beautiful eyes.

That camera is conducted with the supreme artistry of one of my favorite photographers, Tak Fujimoto, who was with director Jonathan Demme since the late '70s. Fujimoto is in love with earth and flesh tones here, but he also shoots his actors' eyes as if they were a part of the human body we'd never really noticed before, and wanted to give them the attention they deserved. It's a great approach to cinematography that pays off an infinite number of times, from the first major shot, of Sethe and Paul D reuniting (as Winfrey and Glover look at each other, they look not just into the camera, but directly into OUR eyes), to the last major shot, Jason Robards (God love him) staring in horror at a most unusual scene in front of Sethe's home.

This film is no "The Color Purple", with Welles-influenced camera angles and sacchirine-induced uplift. "Beloved" is a long, difficult, often off-putting film which doesn't really provide the big payoff at the end. This isn't necessarily good, but it isn't necessarily bad, either. Highlighted sequences include two truly remarkable sermons in the woods by Baby Suggs (Beah Richards--Oscar-nominated in '68 for "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?"), a horrifying opening which features the most gruesome use of animatronics to date, and the notorious flashback which explain what has haunted Sethe all these years, and who Beloved really is.

I compare this film with "The Thin Red Line". Both come from notable directors, are based on famous novels, used huge budgets, and were very long. Both films disappointed many, many people. Most importantly, however, they both had parts which were greater than the whole, occasional strokes of genius, and were made by men who took the art of filmmaking seriously.

23 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Terrible book, terrible movie. runagain
When Sethe urinated in the yard... gbruce-2
'Touch me on the inside part' scene Pornography_and_Satori
Can someone answer this for me??? blueyedangel522
Was Beloved mentally impaired? katejane10
The Key Plot Words? ctabor-1
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