Summary: Reviews the Zora Neale Hurston novel "Their Eyes Were Watching God." Compares the novel to the film version starring Halle Berry.
I understand that no movie could include everything in the book, but by leaving out Janie's family history; I didn't get a clear idea on why Nanny forces Janie to marry Logan Killicks. Also the pear tree was a symbol greatly emphasized in the novel; nut is only in one shot of the movie. There were scenes from the novel I was looking forward to see how the producers portrayed. The mule scene is one of them. It adds to the meaning of Joe's funeral, and that scene was also not complete
In the novel, the people in Eatonville are complex and interesting people. In the movie, they are reduced to faces. The trial was an important part of the novel; the movie completely bypassed the significance of Janie's acquittal. Halle Berry does have the acting skills to play Janie, but she didn't use them to the best of her ability for this film. She looked the same from beginning to end, even though she's supposed to age. In the novel, Janie is a timeless beauty, but that doesn't mean aging completely evades her. The scenes in the Glades were the best of the movie. They illustrated the true contrasts between the wealth and unhappiness of Janie's marriage to Joe, and her happiness and poverty in her relationship with Teacake.
I did enjoy the movie, and wouldn't have known its faults without reading the novel. I was surprised in the presentation, because Oprah and Halle Berry together seemed like the perfect recipe for success. It's disappointing for me, because Oprah is an amazing woman, and I've never seen a worse production from her.
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Their Eyes Were Watching God is a beautifully written novel. The movie is an equally beautiful way to understand the themes of the novel. Although the movie was well made, it’s nothing like experiencing the story from page to page, getting a more in-depth look at the different stages of Janie’s life. Watching maybe more entertaining and time efficient, but building a personal interpretation to the story can be a more enriching experience.
A lesson that I got from Their Eyes Were Watching God is how important it is to be yourself. For the majority of her youth and early adulthood, Janie was coerced into being someone she wasn’t by outside forces. As the story shows us, it can be hard to break free from those types of forces. So many people hide positive talents and characteristics about themselves because the people around them frown upon those aspects. The story encourages the reader to be bold and do positive things even if some people around us don’t agree with your choices. Money and social status was of no interest to Janie. All she cared about was having strong connections with people. Sometimes striving for material items can cause us to treat our loved ones like items the same way that Janie’s second husband treats her. Even though I’m striving to graduate, I take the time out to meet new people; I’ve realized who I know can be just as important as what I know.
-- Amanda ScurlockBrownstone Intern