Oprah Winfrey Presents: Their Eyes Were Watching God (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes

Oprah Winfrey Presents: Their Eyes Were Watching God (2005)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Originally telecast March 6, 2005, by ABC, this "Oprah Book Club" TV movie is adapted from Zora Neale Hurston's novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, a certified classic of African-American literature. Covering the first 30 years of the 20th century, the film is set in Eatonville, FL, a largely black community and the home of free-spirited Janie Crawford (Halle Berry). Forced into marriage with a much older and much wealthier man at age 16, Janie endures both this unhappy union and a second equally dismal marriage, trapped not only by the bonds of matrimony but also by the rigid patriarchal society of the period. Her only happiness is manifested in her ongoing illicit romance with a younger, none too reliable gent known as Tea Cake (Michael Ealy) -- much to the shock and dismay of her very proper neighbors. Devotees of the original novel expressed displeasure over the film's sketchy portrayal of the protagonist, a multidimensional character reduced to an impulsive hedonist for the purposes of the screenplay (though Halle Berry's towering performance more than compensates for the weaknesses of the scripts). More than that, the fans of the Hurston original bemoaned the loss of the novel's pronounced racial content, which harshly criticized the caste system within the Southern black community of the early 20th century, whereby a light-skinned woman was regarded as "superior," and thus more desirable, than her darker-skinned sisters. No one, however, could find fault with performance of the great Ruby Dee as Nanny, nor the film's lush production trappings.


Halle Berry
as Janie Crawford
Michael Ealy
as Tea Cake
Nicki Micheaux
as Phoeby Watson
Lorraine Toussaint
as Pearl Stone
Ruby Dee
as Nanny
Mel Winkler
as Logan Killicks
Terrence Howard
as Amos Hicks
Gabriel Casseus
as Sam Watson
Kevin Daniels
as Liege Moss
Maura Gale
as Lula Moss
Sean Nelson
as Hezekiah
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Oprah Winfrey Presents: Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Audience Reviews for Oprah Winfrey Presents: Their Eyes Were Watching God


The movie floats on the surface of the meaning of the book, but never gets in very deep. I would assume that's it'd be hard to follow for those who haven't read it. The acting is good, but TEWWG isn't really adaptable in this style.

Cameron Johnson
Cameron Johnson

I enjoyed the performances by Halle Berry and Terence Howard, but not a whole lot else. The book is a classic, but this adaption was mediocre. Had a major film company and a major filmmaker been the one's to make it than it could've really been something special. The talent is there but the makers just didn't know what to do with them.

Brandon Schmidt
Brandon Schmidt

Never read the book before you watch the movie, because you'll always feel the movie adaptation sucks

Remi Logan
Remi Logan

Super Reviewer

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