Cry, the Beloved Country - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Cry, the Beloved Country Reviews

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½ November 28, 2007
Fortunately, in image and structure Roodt and Harwood go for a steadfast simplicity that builds to a beautiful moment of rekindled faith for the grieving Rev. Kumalo that lifts Cry, the Beloved Country to a climactic moment of redemption.
½ November 25, 2007
So many films cover similar subject matter to CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY and in more recent times of far superior filmmaking when tackling the topics of the Apartheid and more general racial barriers (SHOOTING DOGS, THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, HEAVEN'S FALL - to name but a few), this film by the never heard from since Darrell Root, deserves the same fate. Chief among it's massive missteps is that it pushes so hard to convince you of it's soulfulness, yet is only matched in it's delusions of grandeur by a naivety that stems from the direction all the way down to the depiction of it's characters. James Earl Jones' pastor Stephen Kumalo is a man in his 70s/80s, yet his excessively simple and trusting view of the world and human nature is so infuriatingly and unbelievably adolescent that it renders him nothing but a sap of the highest regard. An utterly stupid character that I had nothing for but contempt for. He confesses, "I cry too easily" and cry he does at every conceivable opportunity. These constant waterworks displays do nothing but continually irritate. Never mind that as a character he fails at EVERYTHING he sets out to achieve, in fact, such a shocking level of ineptitude makes the film almost un-watchable. I thought I might find some retreat in the performance of Richard Harris - the main reason for watching this, after a glowing recommendation from a podcast I listen to - but the awkwardness of the language that plagues every character in the script and the seeming never ending repetition of formal greetings between the two leads, blotted out all his good moments, which although consummately executed in a mechanical sense, never elicited a shred of feeling from me. One of the most overrated performances in recent memory.
The final court scenes are where the awkwardness and repetition culminate to infantile extremes. Kumalo's son states what he did over and over, in droll monotone, but never once explains why! It made me so angry, how he did NOTHING to appeal his own impending execution and by the end of it all, I couldn't wait to see him be hanged, if only to be rid of such a moronic idiot.
The film is overly preachy but says nothing and it puts forth every point with such lifelessness you'd have more fun watching a sex education tape. In it's approach and visual style it's barely breathing; a stuffy, stiff, Z-grade TV production at best. Half a star as a rating is too much. Flixster needs to give us the option to award a no star rating. If you somehow come across this, unplug your TV or burn the physical product.
November 25, 2007
Read the book would like to see the movie
November 23, 2007
Being in SA, this movie touched me particularly! A friend of mine made me discover it and I just loved it! A beautiful acting! The story between these two man which everything separates makes you realize that grief is the same for everybody.
November 22, 2007
Very serious movie, it really touches your soul, and tentalizes your mind, i love it. I read this book in middle school and was glad and very excited they came out with a movie too. I enjoyed both..
November 16, 2007
Beautiful story of a country torn apart by apartheid. Touching and brings to reality that though colors can divides yet can be overcome by love...
November 2, 2007
Two excellent actors in a beautiful story. Isn't Richard Harris underrated? I highly recommend the novel.
½ November 2, 2007
All right. As any boy who grew up in the eighties, I have a special place in my heart for James Earl Jones. The voice of Darth Vader and the blind guy in "The Sandlot"? I love him. I just do. But here's the thing: When he gets into serious mode, he just sounds like Vader. Which is unsettling when he's playing a benevolent African priest.

Still, this is a touching and powerful film. Richard Harris acts the hell out of this role. His two scenes with James Earl, where so much is left unsaid, are like little minimalist miracles. Seriously.
½ October 31, 2007
Hmm - the earlier version with Sidney Pottier is better, but neither version is even close to the lyricism and power of the novel.

Admittedly the poetic rhythm and love of the novel is difficult to interpret on screen. Transferred to screen the dialogue seems stiff and the story stolid - and even the majestic sweep of South Africa seems to shrink. This is a film that cries for 70mm anamorphic treatment. Both the characters and the country need space to breathe, and if they aren't given this; if they are shot conventionally, without care and attention, if they are not given a minims silence, you get this.

Both James Earl Jones and Richard Harris are men that have great on screen charisma. Yet Jones simply cannot carry the fragility of the character here, and Harris's role seems insignificant, while the music washes the whole thing down with a slosh of inappropriate sentimentality.

It tries, but the characters, even on a big screen seem to shrink to a TV, and at times they even bore. The material needed better direction.
October 18, 2007
i remeber it being good and dense, but good. about racial issues.
September 24, 2007
i cried so much i had to drink 2 disprins...
½ September 19, 2007
ive had the pleasure of seeing this movie twice, both was horrible.
September 12, 2007
Having a close friend from South Africa, this movie brought a real intimate, human element to apartheid which my friend spoke of but I could never really attach to. James Earl Jones and Richard Harris are incredible actors and brought such passion to the film. I cried not only for the loss of their sons but for the struggles that apartheid bestowed on the lives of these two men and all the others living through apartheid
August 15, 2007
This movie may be an overwrought attempt at racial reconciliation in a royally strife-filled land, but I thought it did an excellent job of building bridges..."would to God I had died for thee, o Absalom".
August 13, 2007
James Earl Jones renders a spectacular performance in this movie... the book is just an interesting! Despite the misery depictd in the movie, it ends ends on a flicker of hope for the future.
August 6, 2007
Faithful to the book. Well done.
August 2, 2007
Moves at a somewhat slow pace, so it's not my cup o' tea...but it had some excellent lines and a dark take on life that got me thinking. The cinematography was done well, and the acting was superb on James Earl's part.
August 1, 2007
A very beautiful film with an outstanding soundtrack. Racism, hatred, suffering, forgiveness, and reconciliation are at the heart of this outstanding movie. A must see!
July 22, 2007
Utlmate Read......then watch the movie!!! God is good!
½ July 11, 2007
Set in the midst of apartheid era South Africa, this simple story works well to infuse the gravitas of myth into the travels of a simple preacher in search of his son. I admit to being ridiculously biased about this film. I saw it shortly after the birth of my son and I have always associated the two. The film is about fatherhood, guilt, vengeance and the drive to forgiveness; a simple story of two men who would never meet except through the actions of their sons. One son is dead and the other sentenced to die. The fathers stand apart just as the audience does, struggling to understand and come to grips with the absurdity of the situation and the grief. Oh, the grief. The film always makes me cry. Everytime. Sentimental fool that I am.
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