Beloved: Novel vs. Film

By:Chiaka Ogbogu


Neither the book nor the movie are in chronological order. The book is set up in flashbacks of previous times and they seem to happen infrequently. In the novel the flashbacks were hard to follow and often was unclear until the very end of the chapter. The movie took on a different approach: it clarified everything, the flashbacks were easier to follow. Because movies are more visual, the movie could fade in and out throughout different scenes and blur the flashbacks so the audience was clear on present-day and past time. Usually the book is more descriptive while the movie is more entertaining, that was the case in Beloved by Toni Morrison.



For the most part I give kudos to the director of the movie for it stays remarkably true to the novel. Visually, it stays true to the book's Ohio setting the landscape, costumes and accents are all believeable. Notably, the gory and horrifying scene in which Sethe kills one of her children and attempts to kill the other three is scarefully and accurately portrayed--the filmmakers do not shy away from the truth of the story in order to create a less offensive film and also refrain from exploiting and sensationalizing the countless gory aspects of the novel, causing it to be borderline horrific.