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
View All

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

All Critics (2) | Top Critics (1)

Winfrey does try to offer TV entertainment of value and with values. But her latest ABC movie, "Their Eyes Were Watching God," is almost comically predictable...

June 8, 2018 | Full Review…

I think the film's concentration on the novel's romantic beats isn't a fault, but rather it speaks to the complexity of Hurston's story.

December 8, 2021 | Full Review…

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


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

Remi Logan
Remi Logan

Super Reviewer

A beautiful movie! Love it!!

Leo L
Leo L

Super Reviewer

Oprah Winfrey Presents: Their Eyes Were Watching God Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features