If Beale Street Could Talk is an American movie in Irish cinemas now. It is a drama directed by Barry Jenkins, and based in the original novel by James Baldwin, it is a celebration of unconditional love through the story of a young couple, their families and their lives.
Played by KiKi Layne and Stephan James, the film shows the love of Fonny and Tish in a non-linear structure and enhances the struggles of black people in the 70’s and the racist system in The United States. The couple is separated after Fonny is falsely accused of rape and jailed, and the story evolves when Tish carrying their first born child tries to prove her lover’s innocence, not an easy task in a society marked by the lack of rights of people of colour.
Barry Jenkins is one of the most outstanding Hollywood directors of these times. Through his movie, he gives the viewers a glimpse into a family trying to battle the legal system that continues to fail them. Regina King, Teyonah Parris and Colman Domingo play the family and Diego Luna is Fonny’s friend.
A voiceover (Tish’s) drives the viewers into the story, beginning when they were just friends as children, until the commencement of the romance and, even, until the mother’s investigations to try to repair Fonny’s honour. It is a first-person narration to warn the audience that is not a just tale, but rather what has happened to her.
Even though the story takes the audience through the facts and the whereabouts of the accused during the crime, the testimony does not go a long way, as the system is biased. It is meant to be a criticism of the harsh reality black-Americans live and a scream for help and support to those impacted daily in the criminal legal system.
The story is very simple and unfortunately a common one even in today’s world, but the film has a great symbolic charge. The cinematic experience is nothing less than exhilarating with a combination of colourful photography, detailed matching costumes, the beat of the drums, extreme close-ups, slowing down of time, and the handling of silence.
On another note, the Academy Awards were held yesterday -24, February, 2019- in Los Angeles, USA.
Regina King won the Oscar to Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, while Nicholas Britell and Barry Jenkins got nominations for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score) and Best Adapted Screenplay respectively.
We invite you to see the movie.
Here is a link to the trailer, dive in romance and leave your comments below!
Duration: 119 min.
Country: United States
Screenplay: Barry Jenkins (Novel: James Baldwin)
Music: Nicholas Britell
Photography: James Laxton
Production Company: Annapurna Pictures / Pastel / Plan B Entertainment
Gender: Romance. Drama