Sunday, February 10, 2019

[Film Review] If Beale Street Could Talk

After the Oscar sensation Moonlight, director Barry Jenkins returns with If Beale Street Could Talk, and its another beautiful and somber portrait of life, love, and it’s crucial complications. 

Based on a James Baldwin novel of the same title, the film follows a young woman named Tish (KiKi Lane) and her longtime friend and lover Fonny (Stephan James). The two are expecting a child, but there’s one big problem: Alonzo has been sent away to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. 

What unfolds is a poignant, poetic, and contemplative drama that stirs with soul and heartfelt humanity. The richly detailed and meaningful story dives into the power of romance, the trials of familial conflicts, and the tragedies of racial injustices.

It’s all so beautifully shot and vibrantly realized, with each frame looking like a picturesque painting and each scene moving with deep emotion. The performances are superb all-around. Regina King is especially affecting as Tish’s compassionate mother, but I may have most impressed by Stephan James, who conveys so much with just a few words and through telling facial expressions that are filled with pain, thoughtfulness, determination, and unwavering love. If Beale Street Could Talk, Fonny’s eyes would say it all. 

* 8.5/10 *

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