Film Review on Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Hurston

The film Their Eyes Were Watching God was aired on 6th March the year 2005. The movie is based on Zora Hurston’s novel written in 1937 bearing the same title. The film is about Janie’s life, which seems to be dictated by other people but her. On returning to Eatonville, Florida, Janie is gossiped, especially about what had transpired between her and her husband, Tea Cake. Phoeby, Janie’s friend, stands by her despite the odds. Janie attempts to explain to Phoeby the whole story. Janie’s grandma had raised her after her mum had run off (Zora 42). Her grandma marries her hurriedly to a much older man, Logan Killicks, who is supposed to provide security and social status to her. Logan, on marrying Janie, turns out to be violent and threats Janie like a mule. Janie starts to secretly flirt with Joe and later decide to flee to Eatonville (Zora 173).

On eloping, Jody, as Janie refers to Joe, succeeds to become a mayor, storekeeper, postmaster, and the town’s largest landlord. Jody does not give Janie the freedom to interact with ordinary people which was against Janie’s wish to communicate with the vibrant social life in town. To Jody, Janie is an ornament to his success. He, therefore, tries to shape her to be according to his view of a mayor’s wife. Due to this, their marriage breaks down, and later, Jody dies, which gives Janie the freedom she desired in a long time. Later, Janie meets Tea Cake, a man twelve years younger than her, and they get married nine months after Jody’s death. They leave town to go to Jacksonville. In their first week of marriage, Janie and Tea Cake experience challenges but overcome them. For instance, Tea Cake apologized for having stolen Janie’s money and ran away. They later move to Everglades where they promise each other loyalty. Tea Cake is quick-witted and friendly, and this sparks their relationship. Two years into their marriage, a hurricane hits Everglade during which Tea Cake is bitten by a dog and falls ill. Tea Cake gets rabies and is convinced that Janie is cheating on her. He takes a pistol and starts to fire at her; Janie kills him to save her life. Following a court trial, Janie is found not guilty by the Jury and is set free and returns to Eatonville (Zora 60).

According to Robert Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love, Love has three components (Sternberg 119). The three parts include passion, intimacy, and commitment which manifest various aspects of love. Passion is an emotional arousal which is a feeling of excitement towards something or even someone. It can also be a strong sexual or romantic feeling. Commitment is the resolve that one makes to stick to one remain loyal to someone or something. Commitment/loyalty depends on the satisfaction that one gets from the relationship. Therefore, commitment is one’s attitude to work hard to see the success of a relationship. Intimacy, as the third pillar in the theory of triangular love, is the feeling of attachment and closeness to someone. Intimacy strengthens the bond between two people. With affection, the two parties involved should have mutual feelings (Robert, 324). These three pillars interact with each other, and different kinds of love are generated as a result. The components may generate up to eight types of love. These kinds of love are; Eros, Philia, Ludus, Pragma, Agape, Philautia, and Storge.

From the film Their Eyes Were Watching God, it is evident that love exists between Janie and Tea Cake. Basing on Robert’s Triangular theory of love, the love shared by Janie and Tea Cake encompasses the three pillars of love. Intimacy is evident when Janie chooses to be with Tea Cake only nine months after Jody’s death after finding the freedom she greatly enjoyed and had longed. Passion also drives Janie to marry Tea Cake who is younger than her irrespective of the gossips going around the town. Commitment keeps them together; this is evident after Tea Cake steals some of Janie’s money and runs away. On coming back, they both resolve to commit themselves to the relationship which leads them to two years of marriage.

Janie and Tea Cake had three types of love between them; Eros, Pragma, and Philautia. Eros love is a type of love based on sexual attraction between two people, especially of the opposite sex. It involves sexual and romantic feelings. After Jody’s death, Janie turns down all the suitors that approach her, but when Tea Cake comes along, she gives in to him because she gets an attraction to him. Despite the gossip in town, Janie and Tea Cake get married (Zora, 66). On the other hand, pragma love is a longstanding kind of love that exists between a married couple based on commitment, compromise, understanding, as well as tolerance. Janie and Tea Cake got married, which marks the beginning of Pragma love. Within the first week of their marriage, the two face challenges with Tea Cake stealing Janie’s money. However, with tolerance, Janie forgives him, and they resolve to work on their marriage. They promise each other to share their experiences and opinions. The commitment lasts for two years while the two were a married couple. Finally, Philautia love is love for oneself. It is a kind of love we have for ourselves. Janie and Tea Cake love themselves dearly. Tea Cake, out of selfishness or love for oneself, steals Janie’s money. It is during the hurricane that Tea Cake is bitten by a dog and acquires rabies. Rabies makes Tea Cake think that Janie is cheating on him and he takes a pistol and shoots at her. In self-defense Janie kills him (Zora 80). These incidences are evidence of the measures both characters take to protect themselves from one another.

Love is a beautiful thing, and everybody wishes to be loved someday, and so do I. It feels good to know that someone loves you and you love them back. My Love story is not entirely different from that of Janie. Being a young girl, I fell in love with a young man from my neighborhood. He was two years older than one class and me ahead of me. Our love started as study mates, and eventually, we were through with our secondary education. In my village, people would always gossip about us. My father is a pastor; all eyes were on me. High expectations were pegged on me, and everybody expected me to get married in the most decent way possible.

From high school, we both joined college and our love never faded. At one time rumor had it my boyfriend then was dating another girl from my neighborhood. It saw us break up for at least three months after which we resolved never to listen to rumors and to base our love on trust. Two years after college we committed to each other in marriage, and to date, we are happily married.



Works Cited

Sternberg, Robert & Grajek, Susan. The Nature of Love. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 47, 1984, Pp. 312–329. Retrieved from

Sternberg, Robert. A Triangular Theory of Love. Psychological Review, 93, 1986, Pp. 119–135.

Hurston, Zora. Their Eyes Were Watching God. Illinois: University of Illinois Press. 1937, Pp. 3-280.