5.9/10
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209 user 66 critic

Beloved (1998)

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

Director:

Writers:

(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

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

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 <crashbug@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

spirit | farm | freedom | slavery | ohio | See All (153) »

Taglines:

The past has a life of its own.

Genres:

Drama | History | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 October 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Agapimeni  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,165,551, 18 October 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$22,852,487
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The farmhouse scenes were filmed in Fair Hill, Maryland, on park land along the Big Elk Creek (seen in the creek wading scene). Park Manager Ed Walls even had a bit part as the ferris wheel operator. The house was built for the movie, though it was convincing enough to fool park goers into thinking it was a real old farmhouse after the movie crew departed. There was no snow that year, so the winter scenes were fabricated with fake snow, plastic icicles, and shaved ice, all of which had to be vacuumed up from the fields once shooting was completed. During filming, the park office got a call from another Maryland park asking for advice on dealing with a another film crew. They claimed some kids wanted to film a movie, but they said they didn't seem to know what they were doing, and seemed to just be running around the woods with cameras. The Beloved ended up not being nearly as big of a box-office draw as The Blair Witch Project (1999) See more »

Goofs

When Paul D first arrives and sits on the porch with Sethe, her braids are in front of her shoulders. In the full shot that comes immediately after Sethe's braids are behind her shoulders. See more »

Quotes

Denver: Why you call yourself Beloved?
Beloved: In the dark, my name Beloved.
Denver: What's it like where you was before? Can you tell me?
Beloved: Dark. I was small in that place.
[curls up]
Beloved: Like this here.
Denver: Were you cold?
Beloved: Hot! Nothing to breathe down there. No room to move.
Denver: You see anybody?
Beloved: It's a lot of people down there. Some is dead.
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Californication: LOL (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say
Traditional
Performed by Dorothy Love Coates and "The Thirty Women"
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

An alarming, well-directed motion picture
19 April 1999 | by 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.


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