Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Product Description

Based on the best-selling novel by nora neale hurston this tells the lyrical & passionate story of a beautiful & resiliant woman of colors search for sensual excitement & spiritual fulfillment in 1920s america. Studio: Buena Vista Home Video Release Date: 06/06/2006 Starring: Halle Berry Ruben Santiago-hudson

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:

  • Their Eyes Were Watching God
    This is a really good movie. It's one of those movies that you can watch over and over....more info
  • A Love Story to Cherish & Remember
    I would personally like to thank Oprah Winfrey, Terrance Blanchard and Harpo productions for their lush, lighthearted, inspiring, and romantic adaptation of the Zora Heal Hurston novel, "Their Eyes Were Watching God." The harsh realities of life are forever present in modern day media; they are ingrained in the bittersweet of our mundane lives and often darkly taint African-American literature. As long as there is strife and dysfunction in our society there are copious accounts of verbal and physical abuse, self-hate, sex crimes, and the devastating affects of mental slavery on a nation of people in the name of power. In my lifetime, I have encountered and read several stories that illustrate the self-hatred that a black male can feel for himself and how that contaminates his capacity and ability to love his own life, black women and children. Some black women have never experienced the healthy supportive love, compassion and kindest of black men in books or in life. Rare are the realistic accounts of the healthy, passionate, respectful and encouraging love between African-American/ Black couples.

    In contrast to the other critics of the film, Winfrey's adaptation of "Their Eyes Where Watching God," was truly phenomenal! The movie version of the book was a much-needed and welcomed portrayal of ones journey through self-love; how it affects our ability to make our dreams come true and live a beautiful, splendid life. Prior to seeing the movie I am grateful that I had not read the book (with all due respect to Zora Neale Hurston). Frankly, when I learned that T-cake was abusive (typical of most novels) in the book and that in fact all of the men in the book were either emotional and/ or physically abusive, "something fell off of the self" in my heart, these subject matters are so prevalent in many novels because oftentimes it is difficult to write about an uplifting, liberating love when you have not experienced it for yourself.

    The T-cake experienced in the film version of the book, loves Janie for exactly who she is at that moment in her life. Through his love for Janie, T-cake releases her from the fear that kept her in an abusive relationship with Raymond Stalks until death and from the same fear that was stifling her life to embrace new and wonderful experiences. In the film T-cake is realistically flawed, as she is, yet he understands the importance of accountability in love. Their exchange is not a toxic dance in which they break each other down spiritually, mentally, or physically. Together they delight in exploring each other and life together. They are passionate, fun and a true joy to watch if you have forgotten the joy, camaraderie, and electricity of love. In the end a content Janie embraces her self worth, her life, and the impact of T-cake in her life because the reality of unconditional love has finally deeply and profoundly reached out to touch her. During a very trying time in Halle Berry's personal life, when she was divorcing husband, Eric Benet and essentially "staring over" in her late thirties, I could truly understand why Oprah would offer this gift of hope to her friend in this amazing role. This film is a must-see but you really have to assume an open heart to really enjoy and appreciated the essence of the message of hope and love in this extraordinary film. Regardless of ethnicity, race, creed, or marital status it is a message that every adult could benefit from. Enjoy this remarkable powerful and incredibly romantic journey:-)

    ...more info
    A very poignant and well-acted story of love and spirit of the soul.
    Halle Berry and Michael Ealy's love scenes are very sensual, yet
    tasteful. The supporting actors are well-cast and the cinematography
    makes you feel that you are there. My only complaint is the intro by
    producer Oprah Winfrey. She sets the story up referencing some kiss
    which takes place in the movie. In her best "I'm Oprah and $8 billion
    makes me an authority on everything" tone, she says something like
    "once you receive a kiss like that, you'll be ready to go to God". She
    implied that she was still waiting for such a moment. Well, I'm
    intrigued by this because, although I believed that I'd experience "the
    kiss of life" in 1991, I'm always down for another one. So I cue up the
    DVD and wait and wait and wait - distracted from the real story,
    waiting for "The Kiss". Many steamy kisses go by, but nothing worth
    dying over. I guess I've "been there, done that" in the kiss arena
    while Oprah has only been shopping. Girlfriend, get rid of Stedman and
    get a thug in your life!"

    Viewers, ignore the distracting plug about the kiss - even if you
    haven't had it yet. Just sit down and enjoy a great story of true love
    and a woman who lived her life to the fullest. We can all learn from
    her lesson here...more info
  • A good try!
    This review is comparing the movie to the epic novel written by literary giant Zora Neale Hurston. The movie as a movie, in and of itself is not bad. Not bad at all. In fact is captivating, moving, and very well done. However, there are a few things that Hurston would have been upset over.
    1) The title: In the movie Janie is always the one "watching God." Yet in the novel "their eyes" were watching Him. Meaning it was Janie, Teacake, and another guy watching God in the eye of a storm. That guy wasn't even present in the film.
    2)The novel covered more broad issues than a woman's love life. Ex. race, gender, etc... However, that was all the movie focused on.
    3) Certain scenes that were vital to understanding the movie were cut. Namely, Nanny (her grandma) dying. How is the movie watcher supposed to understand how the grandma dissappears from the scene. Or the court scene of Janie being tried for the death of Teacake.

    Overall, it deserves an A for effort not Accuracy.
    ...more info
  • beautiful love story
    its full of pain an love an deception if you love good love stories that are not corny then you def need to check this one out you wont regret it i just ordered it. the first time i saw it was on tv an tv takes a lot the good parts out, so i cant wait to actually own it an see the whole movie...more info
  • Wow! You talking about exciting!!
    This is the most fascinating movie I have seen in a long time..Halle Berry showed off in this one....more info
  • Great DVD!
    The DVD was much better than the book. Halle Berry was excellent in her role....more info
  • An Excellent Movie
    My review of "Their Eyes Were Watching God" would be excellent. I enjoyed the story plot as well as the characters in the movie. It made me laugh and cry. I would recommend that everyone add this great movie to their collection....more info
  • A Good Effort
    This made for TV movie is well done, but does not measure up to the novel....more info
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God, Movie
    This book never arrived at my house. I would like a refund. ...more info
  • A Must See
    If you love Halle - you HAVE to see this. A Great Movie!...more info
  • Can't help wanting to watch Mr. Sexy himself
    I saw this when it came on tv and vowed that I would purchase it just because of that magnificent kiss. Granted the story ending was far from the orginal storyline of the book but that was to be expected. Halle does a wonderful job but my oh my....Mr. Ealy. *sigh* You make my heart flutter.......more info
  • Their Eyes Were Watching Goddess Halle Berry
    For those who love the book, this isn't too bad. While it follows the book it is very very good. At roughly the point where Janie leaves with Teacake, the story diverges from the book's tone and concentrates more on Halle Berry. While beautiful to watch, this concentration on her detracts from the focus on Janie and Teacake's relationship and how this relationship frees her. The migrant workers' camp is portrayed more like a peace and love '60's commune, and it appears that this is what makes her feel free. Disappointing. ...more info
  • GREAT!!!!!
    I was very pleased when my cd was delivered in 2 days. I watched this movie when Oprah introduced it on TV, the movie was great to watch then and know. Very good packing & CD quality.

    Tay...more info
  • Wonderful
    I truly enjoyed this film I recommend it highly Halle Berry was a delight she is a very talented and gifted artist I laughed sometimes and cried sometimes....more info
  • A great adaptation
    I loved the book and was happy to hear it was being made into a movie. I didn't know at the time that it was a "made for tv movie" because I don't watch TV. So, I missed it when it was shown. I saw it later on Netflix and decided to purchase it. Some things obviously were changed for a movie, but overall they did a better than average job....more info
  • you can't watch the movie and not read the book
    I read the book first and for those of you out there who loved the movie but won't read the book; you're idiots. Great movies don't come from crappy books and if you're white, you should definitely read the book. You'll learn something....more info
  • I love it
    Great movie..A real love story. Just watch it..thats all I have to say....more info
  • better than I expected
    I finally got to watch this, after having read the book in a college class. I loved the book, maybe because I had a great teacher that loved Hurston and really brought it out well. I actually thought the movie wasn't bad either. Perhaps because I had low expectations based on reviews by people who loved the book. But I thought it captured the main idea of the book well in a summary sort of way (generally, to capture a book well, a movie has to be pretty long). The book had a more detail about Tea Cake and Janie getting to know each other, and more detail about their time in the Everglades. Still, the movie captured the main idea well enough. My biggest complaint about the movie is this: in the book, Tea Cake actually bit Janie right before he died, so she very probably got infected with rabies herself. I thought that was a fascinating twist in the book, the very real possibility that Janie was going mad herself in the end--but that was totally left out of the movie much to my disappointment....more info
  • My eyes are getting heavy!
    Okay, I'll be the first to admit that the 2001 Oscar's held many surprises for me. When Halle Berry was announced as 'Best Lead Actress' I almost leaped off the couch in pure satisfaction only to turn off the television in a rage after Russell Crowe lost his MUCH DESERVED Oscar to Denzell. Since then my love for Berry's win has been tarnished by what the media turned her win into (claiming it all up to the Academy's embrace of African American actors instead of calling it what it was...really freaking good acting), and then again, after watching her tragic portrayal time and time again, while I would have went a different route (Naomi Watts who was unjustly snubbed) I am still very happy for her. That said...she bores me here.

    I'm also, as all my friends know, a huge fan of Oprah, as is my wife, and so when she announced that she would be producing this film with Halle in the lead I thought "this is gonna be good". The story, adapted from Zora Neale Hurston's 1937 novel, follows Janie Crawford (Berry) as she suffers through failed marriage after failed marriage in the south only to fall in love with a younger man and end up in a doomed relationship. Yes, the ending is heartbreaking, but getting there takes a lot of patience. The rest of this cast is dull as well, Michael Ealy who plays Janie's younger man being the only one in the cast who struck me. I'm sorry but I just don't get the whole Terrance Howard me he's just really annoying.

    The film has its good points but they are few and far in between. Berry just isn't her usual impressive self, nothing close to her brilliance in 'Monster's Ball'. I was just left wanting, knowing that this could have and should have been so much better. I heard the book is wonderful. Maybe I should read it....more info
  • (:D) ....ok
    I love the movie I have not yet read the book, but the entire cast played a role that made me feel part of the movie, I recommended it to everyone to see it, it is a beautiful love story and it show that age has nothing to do when it comes to enjoying life....more info
  • Something Beautiful
    It's funny that after the movie was over, I was thinking "Man, I gotta get ahold of that book." But after reading some of the reviews and finding out that so many readers didn't like the movie versus the book, I see that I never want to read the book. I was so content with that movie...and I don't want to let anything damper my satisfaction with it.
    This movie is about a wonderful story of a curious woman who is on a search to find someone who meets her level physically, mentally, and spiritually. One man is so old that he does nothing for her physically, mentally, or spiritually. The second man tries to hide her physically behind a statue of servitude and submissiveness. And the third...*grinning* the third one was a compliment to them all.
    It was interesting to watch her hang around for the three men's less than perfect ways and see how she handled them all. Many things she did were things I would not do, probably due to my generation's attitude of leaving when the going gets too tough...but I respected her decisions nonetheless. If you watch the movie for nothing else, just get to the part where Michael Ealy comes into the picture. I understand why Oprah says a woman being kissed like that would die a happy woman...but the kiss she was talking about had nothing on the lemon kiss or the harmonica kiss. I've never seen a man look so dirty and still be so sexy. Halle is absolutely gorgeous as well. One great-looking couple doing a fantastic job in a superb movie.

    Note: When I rented this movie at Blockbuster, the sales clerk said her husband gets mad at her for watching it all the time. Now I understand why. I have watched this movie at least 8 times in the past 2 days and I'll probably watch it again! Matter of fact, I'm getting ready to buy it now.

    5/12/06 (six days later): Curiosity got the better of me and I got the book. Now I'm really rolling my eyes because this book didn't have a THING on the movie. Tea Cake was a liar, a jerk, ridiculously macho, and he hit her...I wasn't feeling that at all. Even worse, Janie was a complete idiot in the book. Everything she did had to be approved by a man and she kept telling people she couldn't think well because she wasn't too smart. I like how much of the movie used the dialogue from the book, but I am so glad Oprah had a hand in this movie. She made Janie much stronger, intelligent, and got rid of that whole damsel in distress nonsense. If I had read the book first, I would've NEVER watched the movie....more info
  • Janie And TeaCake
    I enjoyed this movie the same as Lackawanna Blues. Their is something about my people back in the days that I just truly enjoy. Janie and Teacake show us what real love is truly about. My favorite scene is where Janie is calling Teacake's name. This is a movie I can watch over and over again....more info
  • Great
    This was a movie based on my life.. so I have to say that the movie was great. I have to agree that Janie did not age with the time in the movie. I just want to know who was singing that song when they were dancing in the club!...more info
  • It's okay. It's not bad. It's ............ okay.
    I'd say the book is probably in my Top Twenty Favorite Books list. The thing that the movie's missing is the narration. In the book, there's two distinct personalities : Janie as she's growing and Janie as Narrator. It's the sheer presence of the narrator in the book that makes it. It's Janie looking back at her life and explaining the inner dialogue and why she did what she did, and what she learned from it. That's distinctly missing from the movie. They tried to blend the two and take out the narration for the majority of the story, and that was the mistake.

    It's.... okay. It's not great. If you haven't read the book, you'll probably like the movie. If you've read the book, well, you'll see what I mean. It's still worth watching the movie as Halle Berry's performance is very well done. There's just a lot missing in the production of the film....more info
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God
    This was an excellent movie. The love between Janie and Teacake is all consuming. It will live with you forever and maybe searching for your own Teacake. I enjoyed each actor in their character roles. The quality of the DVD was superb. I would recommend reading the novel. The title is, "Their Eyes Were Watching God", by Zora Neale Hurston....more info
  • Disappointing.
    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....more info
  • Halle's best work
    Oprah is responsible for the filming of this classic and it is a triumph indeed. It is based on the book Their Eyes Were Watching God by Harlem Renaissance novelist, Zora Neale Hurston. The reknown Miss Hurston drew colorful depictions of of her community. She used colorful characterizations that illuminated the spitit of the black America.

    Halle Berry plays heroine, "Janie", who is African American but actually looks white. Janie Crawford is raised by a strict grandmother she calls "Nanny." Nanny is determined to stamp out Janie's fire by marrying her off early. In my opinion, Berry shines in this role and pulls off Janie's sex appeal and beauty as described in Hurston's book.

    Janie's marriage to the elderly first husband ends when she leaves him and walks off with husband number 2, Joe Starks, who promised to "show her the world." Hurston's descriptions of Janie's meticulous second husband is worth noting. We peer into their disagreements about how Janie should appear before the public as the mayor's wife and listen in on the gossip that follows as the townspeople marvel at her transformation into a lady.

    Hurston's great dialogue captures the ongoing gossip of the townspeople who are quick to notice when things turn sour in Janie's house-hold. They wonder what she will do with herself when her husband dies, leaving her all his money.

    You will champion Janie's strong will to be who she wanted to be and cheer her on as she sheds her mourning clothes and trades them in for pretty dresses, letting her proverbial hair down again!

    When a gorgeous drifter by the name of Tea Cake comes to town, you sense what Janie will do once he catches her eye! Janie leaves her home, her business and memories of two stiffling marriages behind to run off with Tea Cake, played brilliantly by Michael Ealy. He and Halle definitely have chemistry on screen!

    Of course he can't support Janie so they live off of her money until it runs out. She feels that Tea Cake's love "gave her the world everyday." Things take a turn for the worse when they both get caught in a hurricane and Tea Cake gets bitten by a rabid dog. Janie ends up putting him out of his misery and goes back home to relive her memories, never regretting the decision to live the way she wanted during her brief time with her man.

    Rent this DVD and experience Janie's joie de vie in the sensual Juke joints dancing and laughing it up. But have your tissues ready for the tear jerking ending because it will definitely tug at your heart.
    ...more info
  • What a Love Story
    I recommend this movie for any woman who has allowed herself to love with abandon, to follow her bliss, unattached to the outcome. It reminded me of a special time in my life, and brought back dearest memories. Halle Berry is always a delight to watch, and this is one of her best performances. I felt her youthful exhuberance about life and her connection to nature and God, was right there with her at the pain of her forced marriage to the old man, and delighted in her liberation - twice. Thanks Oprah, for bringing this beautiful story to film....more info
  • I don't get the fuss
    Not everyone will interpret this book the same, but that is the point when it comes to art. You receive what you need from books, music and etc. This book was interpreted as beautiful love story by Oprah and evidently that how she wanted it to be seen. Not every movie is exactly like the book.... We all know this. It's almost impossible. I love that movies don't give every detail like the books do, but that is because I love to read. I always feel like I have insider's look at a movie when I have read the book. IF you read the book first I would think you would love this movie.......because the actors are great. If you look at the movie first then read the book you might be disappointed.... This movie was beautifully acted, directed and produced. Ruben is sooooooo talented. ...more info
  • No Tribute to Zora Neale Hurston
    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....more info
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God
    The movie wasn't as fullfilling as the book was. It was missing some of the key events that went on inside the book. For example in the her third husband tea cake didn't hit her and wasn't jealous of her. Another difference is that he didn't gamble away the money and not get it back. he gambled at a party and got it back. This story was a touching story about a girl that grows into a beautiful woman and is looking for the love of her life. ...more info
  • A Woman Figthing to find her True Love

    The movie "Their Eyes Were Watching God" i think deserves a 4 stars even if it had some differences from the book like: they never talk about her trail to see if she was innocent or guilty, Tea Cake never hit her and didn't show jealousy in the movie. In the Movie they didn't have the Characters Mrs.Tuner or her brother. But even all these differences it still had the same feeling as the book. It showed all her 3 husbands how Tea Cake made her feel, how Joe made her wear a rag on her hair, and etc.. This is why the movie deserves a 4 star rating. It changed a few things but it never changed the theme. Thanks for listening to Angie and Beba. ...more info
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God
    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! ...more info
  • The Pears and the Bees
    I found the moving didn't capture the true essence that the book illustrated in its pages.The DVD left out so many important details that were just so necessary to reach the maximum potential needed to live a fullfilled life. The book had so many details the reader would say "hey, it's like I'm in the book." Janie in the movie acted more childish and didn't undergo the transformation that I saw in the book. Two Thumbs Down! HA HA HA!...more info
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God...NOT!!!
    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....more info
  • Their eyes were watching god
    In the movie their eyes were watching god there were a couple of differences and a couple of similarities. Like in the book and in the movie she had three husbands Logan, Joe and Tea Cake. Some diffrences are that in the movie she wasn't sitting under the pear tree like they described in the book. And in the movie tea cake did't hit her like he did in the book. In the book he didn't gamble the money, he spent it at a party and then got it back by gambling. And ms. turner was never in the movie. I think that the book is much better than the movie because it has more detail....more info
  • My overall opinion about this movie
    After watching the movie "Their Eyes Were Watching God" I thought it was very well thought out and creative how the actors played their parts. Every scene was played though it was real. For example, when the hurricane hit that seemed realistic. Even though I didn't read the book I will prefer the movie because it's time effective and you can really understand what is going on. In the book it probably would be harder to understand the setting because of how the scenes are. I like this movie and it will be nice to show in a History class that is learning about what happened in the past. And Halle Berry is a really good actor I'm glad that they chose her....more info