Writer: Barry Jenkins (Screenplay) James Baldwin (Novel)
Starring: Kiki Layne, Stephen James, Regina King, Colman Domingo, Teyonah Parris, Michael Beach
Plot: A woman in Harlem embraces her pregnancy while she and her family struggle to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime.
Tagline – Trust Love All the Way
Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Brilliant, Emotional and Memorable
Story: If Beale Street Could Talk starts as Tish Rivers (Layne) is just breaking the news to her love Alonzo ‘Fonny’ Hunt (James) about her pregnancy, the problem is that he is in jail. Sharon (King) is ready to support her daughter, while Joseph (Domingo) only worry is about his daughters age.
Tish wants to bring the baby into the world, first they must get him out of jail with his case being one that will only see the black community looking guilty off. We get to see how the case unfolds and how the two lovers feel in love through their lives.
Thoughts on If Beale Street Could Talk
Characters – Tish is the young woman whose life is about to change forever, she falls in love and becomes pregnant, she is about to embrace the next chapter of her life, only her partner is put in jail. She must find a way to get him out of jail ready to be the father the baby will require. She might not be the smartest or most skilled person, though she is filled with all the love required to be a mother. Fonny is the man in jail on a rape charge, he isn’t coping well in jail as we see just how friendly, genuine and hard working he is trying to become in life. Sharon is Tish’s mother, who will do anything to make sure her daughter and Fonny are together to raise their child, showing the most support of either sides family. We get to meet the people who are big parts of both Tish and Fonny’s life both before and after the incident to see their reactions to everything that does one.
Performances – Kiki Layne is fantastic in the leading role showing the innocence of the change in her life, the love her character is feeling and the uncertainty of her own future. Stephen James is wonderful to in this role of the wrongfully accused man. Regina King gets the most difficult scenes which will see her in search for the truth which will explain why she is the Oscar nominated star of this movie. The rest of the cast complete this movie wonderfully well bring their strength to each scene they are in.
Story – The story here follows the pregnancy of a young woman in Harlem, while the father is falsely imprisoned waiting for a trial. We get to flashback to how they first met, fell in love and how they are continuing to support each other through the current situation. We do have to face the idea that we need to learn what really happened with the crime, who it was that committed the crime and why Fonny was the one expected to take the fall. The pacing of the story flows by as we do get to see just how difficult the lives of the people involved would have been. It is the subtle look at how the racist nature was still around, but how the families would continue to give themselves their best life.
Crime/Romance – The crime idea of the film deals with how people would have been just framed for a crime. The romance is the most important part and the strongest part of the film as we see how the two lovers would have done everything to be together.
Settings – The film shows us just how the black community would be together in locations around America, they became closer and stuck together when they see how they are treated from outsiders.
Final Thoughts – This is a wonderful story of love, commitment and the difficult times faced back the black community in America.
Overall: Beautiful movie.