If Beale Street Could Talk (2019)
Critic Consensus: If Beale Street Could Talk honors its source material with a beautifully filmed adaptation that finds director Barry Jenkins further strengthening his visual and narrative craft.
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as Tish Rivers
as Joseph Rivers
as Ernestine Rivers
as Daniel Carty
as Frank Hunt
as Officer Bell
as Pietro Alvarez
as Mrs. Hunt
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Critic Reviews for If Beale Street Could Talk
Jenkins's If Beale Street Could Talk is a gorgeous, enveloping film -- and one of its most poignant triumphs is how vividly it captures the depth and complication of intimacy among its black characters.
Just as the novel version of If Beale Street Could Talk moves between love story and protest novel, a balance Baldwin strikes throughout many of his works, Jenkins' adaptation uses flashbacks to oscillate between two worlds.
Jenkins doesn't scratch the surface of the black American experience. He takes you deep into its bones and suggests that far less has changed than the naive may believe.
The final reel is painful (the bee sting of bigotry). The ending is tough. The compensation resides in the elegant and searing film-making of Jenkins.
Audience Reviews for If Beale Street Could Talk
A subtle and gorgeous examination of people trapped in broken systems that never forgets to see its characters as complex human beings.
I might be the only person on the internet who didn't like Moonlight, but whatever trepidation I may have had about Barry Jenkins has been banished away thanks to his recent adaptation of the James Baldwin novel "If Beale Street Could Talk". In it, KiKi Layne plays a young woman coming to terms with her pregnancy after her boyfriend (Stephan James) has been imprisoned under a false accusation of rape. The core of the story is predominantly focused on their relationship, a pure love born out of mutual respect, honesty, and years of dedication, a love that we rarely see conveyed with such profound depth in even the genre of romance film. At times, the intimacy is incredibly arresting without being lurid or melodramatic. Equally rare is the way in which 1970's Harlem is presented. Normally a city shown in crime dramas as grey and rainy, soon to be hidden in the shadows of neon lights, Jenkin's Harlem is a sunny and vibrant world if not a bid dilapidated. It is populated by families, brothers and sisters genuinely trying to help and understand one another, but this is often eclipsed by the societal afflictions of deep seated bigotry, police corruption, and the victimization of the working class. One of the most unsettling scenes this year is a character played by Bryan Tyree Henry, another man recently incarcerated after being falsely accused, describing the existential and physical horror of living in prison, how it changes a person and instills fear in your very soul. It's a chilling yang to the romantic yin of Tish and Fonny's relationship, taking on themes that have been handled in a much more bumbling fashion all year in equally socially conscious (yet less refined) films.
If Beale Street could talk it would warn you to avoid seeing If Beale Street Could Talk.The acting was good but the story was excruciatingly dull and the music a major distraction. Was it arty crap or crappy art? 2019 not off to a good start (1-1-19).
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