And welcome to back to my blog that I have neglected for another month. But I’m back (I think), so let’s discuss If Beale Street Could Talk!
IMDb summary: A woman in Harlem embraces her pregnancy while she and her family struggle to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime.
- If Beale Street Could Talk is Barry Jenkins’ follow-up to his Oscar-winner Moonlight (remember that La La Land debacle? What a time). The film is based on the book of the same name by James Baldwin. The film is also dedicated to the author. For once, I’m actually somewhat familiar with the source material: while I haven’t read the exact book the movie is adapting, I absolutely loved Baldwin’s novel ‘Giovanni’s Room’. One of my all-time favourites.
- I really liked the writing for the movie. I loved how Jenkins managed to tell such a tragic story in such a heartwarming way. If Beale Sreet Could Talk was a romance above anything else: the tragedy and the drama came second and love was the message. Such an emotional response lent a lot to the structure of the film and the clever way Jenkins positioned the narrative non-linearly.
- I also loved the mixture of realism and poetics in his directing of the film. The two styles corresponded to the two topical concepts (poetics and love vs tragedy and realism).
- The movie was a bit slow but engaging. The slow-moving camera showcased the carefulness and care with which this movie was crafted.
- A lot of the film’s success is due to the performances by the cast: the two leads – KiKi Layne and Stephan James – portrayed their respective characters with such innocence and freshness and yet there was also an overlying feeling of sophistication. Regina King and Colman Domingo shined in supporting roles. Dave Franco, Diego Luna, Ed Skrein, and Pedro Pascal make cameo appearances.
In short, If Beale Street Could Talk is a realistically poetical or poetically realistic romantic drama that will break and glue your heart back together multiple times throughout the 2h runtime.
Trailer: If Beale Street Could Talk trailer