November 25, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST
We gave it a B

If you’re ever in the mood for a simple, sexy love story, full of passionate embraces and silky backstrokes in the lake, executive producer Oprah Winfrey’s got the movie for you (it’s called Their Eyes Were Watching God. But then do go and read Harlem Renaissance author Zora Neale Hurston’s classic novel about a black woman in 1930s Florida struggling to find her place in the world. While the book chews on meaty questions of race and identity, the movie largely resigns itself to the realm of sudsy romance. But as Janie Crawford, a free spirit trying to shake off the shackles of two bad marriages, Halle Berry is at her best. Her subtle, emotionally naked performance outshines her overwrought Oscar-winning work in Monster’s Ball. EXTRAS Nothing turns down the heat like a teaser for a Home Improvement DVD, which is about as good as these extras get.

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