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Their Eyes Were Watching God (2005)

Halle Berry , Ruben Santiago-Hudson , Darnell Martin  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Halle Berry, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Michael Ealy, Terrence Howard, Lorraine Toussaint
  • Directors: Darnell Martin
  • Writers: Written For Television By Suzan-Lori Parks And Mis, Based On The Novel By Zora Neale Hurston
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 29, 2005
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,737 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Their Eyes Were Watching God" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Oprah Winfrey Presents THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD, the story of a remarkable and resilient woman's quest for love and fulfillment based on the best-selling book by Zora Neale Hurston. Academy Award(R) winner Halle Berry (Best Actress 2003, MONSTER'S BALL) stars as the beautiful Janie Crawford, who embarks on an emotional and dramatic journey of self-discovery. Refusing to compromise in spite of society's expectations, Janie endures two stifling marriages until finally finding love in a passionate romance with a much younger man. In one of the greatest, most lyrical love stories ever written, Janie experiences all that life has to offer, from unbelievable triumph to unspeakable heartbreak. Be inspired again and again by this timeless story of passion, romance, and the spirit of true love. ~~(c) 2005 Buena Vista Home Entertainment Inc. and Touchstone Television.

Produced by Oprah Winfrey, this lush, yet earthy telefilm was adapted from the 1937 novel by Zora Neale Hurston. Set in rural Florida, the story begins several years after emancipation. Janie (a soulful Halle Berry) is a dreamy-eyed teenager, who never knew her parents. She was raised by the bitter Nanny (Ruby Dee), an ex-slave, who marries her off to an older man the minute she gets the chance. Mr. Killicks works Janie like a dog, but leaves her alone otherwise (he's abusive in the book). Then Janie meets the courtly Joe (Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Lackawanna Blues), who whisks her away from the muck to the black township of Eatonville. The two proceed to transform the town from a patch of dirt into a real community. Along the way, Joe becomes mayor and Janie a mere helpmate. Except for her friend Phoeby (Nicki Micheaux), the townspeople confuse her sadness for conceit and she ends up lonelier than ever. Twenty years later, Joe dies and Janie takes up with the younger Tea Cake (Michael Ealy, Barbershop). Much like the other literary adaptations with which she's been associated (The Color Purple, Beloved, etc.), this Oprah production boasts an impressive line-up of African-American talent, including Terrence Howard (Crash) as the covetous Amos. A mostly successful mix between suds and substance, Their Eyes Were Watching God, which premiered on ABC, was directed by Darnell Martin, co-written by Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan Lori-Parks, and graced with a classy score by frequent Spike Lee collaborator Terence Blanchard. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
80 of 84 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No Tribute to Zora Neale Hurston February 14, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
After reading the book, I watched the film. What a disappointment the film was. The filmmakers have taken a book that explores the differences between women and men as well as issues of race, prejudice and class difference, and turned it into little more than a formulaic romance novel. I note that most of the reviewers who rated the film highly had not read the book. I encourage you to do so. It is such a rich novel--far richer than the film. What the screenwriter has done is purge the movie of all the more difficult issues the book deals with. Gone is Mrs. Turner's discussion of race and her prejudice against darker-skinned people. Gone is Janie's jealousy as well as the explanation for Tea Cake's violence (of course, Tea Cake's violence is gone, too, because he's supposed to be the romantic hero; romantic heroes can't hit their wives as Tea Cake does in the book). Gone are the conversations on the porch of Joe Starks store. Gone is Nanny's explanation of her reasoning for Janie's marriage to Logan Killicks. It's really too bad that the production company didn't have faith in Zora Neale Hurston's story and felt they had to over-simplify it; I'm sure the audience could have handled it in all its complexity.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Their Eyes Were Watching God...NOT!!! February 3, 2006
I didn't enjoy the movie because I expected it to be more like the book which was way more interesting. The book had so much more detail it gave more examples, more to imagine. There's a part in the book were it shows a Ms. Turner, but in the movie there was no Ms.Tuner. Another part is when he has to bury dead bodies it shows nothing about that in the movie. The movie cuts out a lot of parts that were in the book. Maybe if i would of just saw the movie it would have been better, but since I read the book first I expected more scenes.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD, is one remarkable story December 24, 2005
THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD, is a remarkable story based on the best-selling book by Zora Neale Hurston. Halle Berry stars as the beautiful Janie Crawford, who embarks on an emotional and dramatic journey of self-discovery.

Set in Florida in the 1930's, Janie struggles to satisfy first her grandmother, and then the men in her life. As a half-black, half-white woman, Janie's life was one of new rules and boundaries, new borders and bridges. She is half black and therefore destined to live the life of a black, but she was also half white and she deserved the life of a white. But neither appealed to Janie Her sense of freedom and adventure shaped who she was and who she would become. Throughout this book Janie never gave up her search for love and happiness. And throughout her three marriages she gained a lot of positive experiences.

Her first marriage was to a man named Logan Killicks, and she gained many positive experiences from that marriage. She learned the valuable lesson "that marriage did not make love. Shortly after that she left Logan. She then married a man named Joe "Jody" Starks and she learned a lot from that marriage as well. She learned, for example, that money doesn't equal happiness. Also in that marriage Janie learned to "talk some and leave some." Some things were important enough to fight with Jodie over and some, well most, weren't. He always won the fights so only the most unique matters could or would be quarreled over. Her third marriage was to Teacake, and she learned a lot of positive things from that marriage too. What she learned was the greatest lesson of them all. She learned Love. How to give it, how to receive it and how to express it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad, Regardless of the Novel May 10, 2011
First, I will begin by saying that this movie is a poorly done romance movie, evident from the moment it "starts". The adapted story is purely plot that abandons many of Hurstons Motifs and symbolism, while making many unnecessary metaphorical inserts. All dialogue in the book is done in thick southern vernacular, something that the film neglects. Overall I would say that the movie isn't very enjoyable on its own, and not tolerable after reading the fine piece of literature that it is its inspiration.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing. March 9, 2006
This is my favorite book of all time. I'm also a huge fan of Halle and Oprah, but I found this to be a very bad adaptation of the book on many levels. It was just bad. I have no idea how one would receive this movie without reading the book, but it left out so much of the book. It lacked the emotional depth. And the saddest thing is that when I first read this book in 1993 that Halle Berry would make the perfect Janie. I still think I'm right. And the fact that this was done in 2 hour movie was an atrocity. This should have been a miniseries. I still applaud Oprah for bringing Zora's work to the masses.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Their Eyes Were Watching God February 3, 2006
By Yarie
The movie wasn't a good portrayal of the book. It lacked details that were vital to the whole story. When you read literature you are able to grasp the whole story and a portrayal of it could have more details, but it should never lack details. While watching the movie I was able to point out the movies qualities and flaws and how different and alike they were. "Their Eyes Were Watching God" DVD got the basic idea of the book , but the details that are missing give it a two thumbs down on my behalf. In the book when Janie Mae Crawford meets Tea Cake and they begin to become comfortable with each other , Janie leaves behing her mourning in black and starts to wear blue( being that this is Tea Cake's favorite color). In the book this was a way of showing Janies' change in attitude. These details along with many others weren't apart of the movie which threw me off and i truly disliked the movie. Some parts were exaggerated, others just weren't there!
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Im searching as well..If you have found it, mind sharing??
Sep 9, 2008 by Andrea Williams |  See all 3 posts
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