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Their Eyes Were Watching God (2005)

A drama set in the 1920s, where free-spirited Janie Crawford's search for happiness leads her through several different marriages, challenging the morals of her small town. Based on the novel by Zora Neale Hurston.


Darnell Martin


Zora Neale Hurston (novel), Suzan-Lori Parks (teleplay) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Halle Berry ... Janie Starks
Ruben Santiago-Hudson ... Joe Starks
Mel Winkler Mel Winkler ... Logan Killicks
Michael Ealy ... Tea Cake
Terrence Howard ... Amos Hicks
Lorraine Toussaint ... Pearl Stone
Nicki Micheaux ... Phoebe Watson
Gabriel Casseus ... Sam Watson
Sean Nelson ... Hezekiah
Kevin Daniels ... Liege Moss
Maura Gale Maura Gale ... Lula Moss
Ruby Dee ... Nanny
Henry Brown ... Walter Stone
Rhonda Stubbins White ... Annie Tyler
Artel Great ... Motor Boat (as Artel Kayaru)


Sassy Janie Starks looks unlike to get anywhere in pre-Great War Easton, Florida, but lands the best colored catch, lively shopkeeper Joe Starks, who even becomes town mayor. However her refusal to oblige his expectations of decency turn love into bitterness. After his death, she prefers to enjoy 'freedom' again, with cocky outsider 'Tea Cake' as playmate, and not just at chess. They even face the risks of seasonal labor. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Romance


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Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Eatonville is located in Central Florida. See more »


Eatonville is located in Central Florida, where the average elevation is close to sea level. The hills in the background in wide shots clearly betray the California shooting locations. See more »


[first lines]
Janie Starks: There's two things everybody got to find out for theyselves: they got to find out about love, and they got to find out about living. Now, love is like the sea. It's a moving thing. And it's different on every shore. And living... well, I just come back from burying the dead.
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Featured in The 63rd Annual Golden Globe Awards (2006) See more »

User Reviews

Extremely Disappointing, Even Distressing
9 March 2005 | by queendiva2See all my reviews

I am a Black woman and I have read Their Eyes Were Watching God many times, most recently when I learned that Oprah Winfrey and ABC were presenting the television movie. I was absolutely horrified at what I saw on Sunday. Halle Berry simply did not do justice to the character she sought to portray. Janie Crawford is a dignified, free spirited, intelligent, strong character. The portrayal presented on ABC was insulting to the memory of Zora Neale Hurston in that Berry played Janie as a flighty, promiscuous, immodest tart who went off with whatever man appealed to her at any given moment. And to add insult to injury, Suzan Lori Parks neglected to adequately address a number of the important issues raised by Ms. Hurston, specifically the issues of skin tone and class among Black folks. How could Michael Ealy possibly play Tea Cake, who Ms. Hurston wrote as a dark skinned Black man, not the perpetually sweaty, open-shirted, light-skinned, mumbling buffoon presented to us on Sunday? I watched the movie with four other Black people, two men and two women. No one had anything positive to say about the movie. I held on as long as I could, but after two hours, I had to agree with my fellow viewers: the movie was horrible. Shame on all involved who had any sort of creative control over this debacle. May Hurston haunt you until you know better.

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Release Date:

6 March 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Their Eyes Were Watching God See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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