Cry, the Beloved Country

Watch Cry, the Beloved Country

  • PG-13
  • 1995
  • 1 hr 46 min
  • 6.8  (2,016)
  • 71

Cry, the Beloved Country, directed by Darrell Roodt and released in 1995, is a powerful adaptation of the classic novel by Alan Paton. The film was shot in South Africa and serves as a moving reflection on the struggles and injustices of apartheid. The story centers on two fathers, one black and one white, whose families are brought together by tragedy. Reverend Stephen Kumalo (James Earl Jones) is a rural priest from the impoverished village of Ndotsheni who travels to the urban city of Johannesburg in search of his son Absalom (Eric Miyeni), who has gone missing. James Jarvis (Richard Harris) is a wealthy white landowner whose son Arthur (Ian Roberts) is also killed in Johannesburg, leaving him searching for answers.

As Kumalo and Jarvis both grapple with their grief and their understanding of the world around them, they cross paths and a deep mutual respect is formed. Kumalo, who has never left his village, is horrified by the poverty and despair of the city, and is faced with the harsh reality of the discrimination and exploitation that black people face every day. Jarvis, previously indifferent to the plight of black South Africans, sees firsthand the damage wrought by years of racist policies and becomes painfully aware of the system of oppression he has unwittingly supported.

Vusi Kunene delivers a stunning performance as James’ black Manservant, Msimangu, who serves as Kumalo’s mentor and guide through the chaos of Johannesburg. His character provides important context and insight into the social and political issues of the time, and serves as a moral compass for both Kumalo and Jarvis.

The film is notable for its stunning cinematography, which captures the stark contrast between the lush beauty of the countryside and the bleakness of the city. The camera lingers on the bustling and crowded streets of Johannesburg, where black people are crammed into overcrowded tenements and subjected to constant police scrutiny. Meanwhile, Kumalo’s village is depicted as a peaceful, verdant paradise whose inhabitants are forced to leave in search of work.

Despite the bleak subject matter, Cry, the Beloved Country is ultimately a story of hope and redemption. Both Kumalo and Jarvis are forced to confront the uncomfortable truths of their society and to question their own beliefs and actions. As Kumalo says, "Cry for the broken tribe, for the law and the custom that is gone. Aye, and cry aloud for the man who is dead, for the woman and children bereaved. Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end."

James Earl Jones and Richard Harris both give powerful and nuanced performances, capturing the complexity of their characters and the emotional turmoil they experience. Their interactions are a testament to the power of human connection to bridge even the most seemingly insurmountable barriers.

In summary, Cry, the Beloved Country is a beautiful and haunting film that will stay with viewers long after the credits roll. It is a powerful reminder of the atrocities committed under apartheid in South Africa, and a testament to the resilience and humanity of those who fought against it.

Cry, the Beloved Country is a 1995 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 46 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8 and a MetaScore of 71.

Cry, the Beloved Country
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 46 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.8  (2,016)
  • Metascore