- 2 hr 52 min
Set in post-Civil War Ohio, Beloved tells the harrowing story of Sethe (Oprah Winfrey), a former slave who has recently escaped to the north with her daughter Denver (Kimberly Elise). However, Sethe still feels haunted by the past, particularly by the memory of her infant daughter who she was forced to kill in order to spare her from a life of slavery. When a mysterious young woman named Beloved (Thandie Newton) appears in Sethe's life, she begins to confront the trauma and guilt that has been weighing her down. Beloved's presence also raises questions about the nature of memory and the way that history continues to impact the present.
Danny Glover plays Paul D, a fellow former slave who reconnects with Sethe after many years apart. Together, they share their stories of survival and try to make sense of the world they find themselves in. Meanwhile, Denver struggles with her own isolation and feelings of abandonment, as she watches her mother's obsession with the past threaten to consume them both.
As directed by Jonathan Demme, Beloved is a haunting and powerful meditation on the legacy of slavery and the enduring power of memory. The film is often surreal and dreamlike, blurring the lines between reality and the supernatural. This is particularly true in scenes involving Beloved, who seems to embody both a physical presence and a ghostly apparition. Newton gives a stunning performance as the enigmatic title character, capturing both her vulnerability and her fierce determination to uncover the truth.
At its core, however, Beloved is a story about the ways in which trauma can shape our lives and our relationships. Sethe's experiences as a slave have left her deeply scarred, and her attempts to protect her daughter from a similar fate have only added to her guilt and pain. As Paul D tells her at one point, "You got two feet, Sethe, not four." The film doesn't offer easy answers, but it does suggest that it is possible to confront the past and try to move forward.
Beloved was not a commercial success upon its release in 1998, but it has since become a cult classic and a touchstone for discussions about slavery, trauma, and memory in American culture. The film holds up remarkably well twenty years later, thanks in large part to the powerhouse performances of Winfrey, Glover, and Newton, as well as Demme's inventive and atmospheric direction.
In conclusion, Beloved is a deeply moving and thought-provoking film that explores the legacy of slavery and the power of memory in American life. It is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, and a reminder that even in the face of unspeakable trauma, there is still hope for healing and growth.
Beloved is a 1998 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 52 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.0 and a MetaScore of 57.