A romantic drama for the modern age elevated by stellar acting and direction. This If Beale Street Could Talk review is brought to you by AboutFlick’s Mr T.
Director: Barry Jenkins
Review: It’s a good time to be alive if you like pluralism in movies. After BlacKkKlansman, The Hate You Give and Blindspotting, 2018 gave us If Beale Street Could Talk, based on James Baldwin’s novel of the same name. Directed by Barry Jenkins, known for directing films like Moonlight (2016) and Dear White People (2014), It is a love story set in the backdrop of the racial tensions in USA in the 1970s and follows a pregnant young woman’s struggle to prove the innocence of her partner, who was falsely implicated in a crime he didn’t commit.
KiKi Layne and Stephan James as Tish and Fonny are the main protagonists in the story and they manage to recreate the magic of a rare, idealistic and innocent love which remains unaffected by the corruption in society. Regina King and Teyonah Parris are equally captivating as Tish’s mother and elder sister respectively who really care about her and would do anything to protect her from harm. If Beale Street Could Talk also features cameos from accomplished actors like Dave Franco, Diego Luna, Pedro Pascal and Ed Skrein who provide ample support to the leads.
Despite the optimistic tone, the movie, in reality, is a testament to the way institutions are rigged against minorities. And how difficult it is to escape the clutches of racism ingrained in society. Hollywood loves to characterize African-Americans as people who always stand up for each other which is a rather simplistic approach If Beale Street Could Talk also offers a realistic portrayal of the tensions that can exist within a community. The scene in which Fonny’s mother is judgemental about Tish and her family lays bare the fractures that can exist which are imperceptible to the outside world.
This movie is a romantic drama for the modern age. One that rivals and surpasses The Notebook (2004) and The Fault in our Stars (2014). The plot is somewhat predictable though, and hence the filmmaker adopts non-linear storytelling to make the movie more engaging. This is the film you have to watch when you are feeling lost, down and alone.
Rating: My rating for If Beale Street Could Talk is 4/5.
Who should watch this: If you like timeless romantic dramas or films on racial intolerance, you will enjoy If Beale Street Could Talk. Also check out Moonlight (2016), BlacKkKlansman (2018), The Hate You Give (2018), Blindspotting (2018), The Notebook (2004) and The Fault in our Stars (2014).