If Beale Street Could Talk
Set in early-1970s Harlem, If Beale Street Could Talk is a timeless and moving love story of both a couple's unbreakable bond and the African-American family's empowering embrace, as told through the eyes of 19-year old Tish Rivers (KiKi Layne). A daughter and wife-to-be, Tish vividly recalls the passion, respect and trust that have connected her and her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt, who goes by the nickname Fonny (Stephan James). Friends since childhood, the devoted couple dream of a future together but their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime.
The film was directed and written by Barry Jenkins based on the novel by James Baldwin.
Richard Roeper/Chicago Sun-Times
A great American novel has been turned into a great American film.
Ann Hornaday/Washington Post
Deliberately paced, unapologetically mannered and contemplatively attuned, If Beale Street Could Talk invites audiences to venture beyond the screen in front of them to connect with the characters and their world on a deeper, more mystical plane.
Tim Robey/The Telegraph
If proof were needed that Barry Jenkins’s directing achievement was far from a one-off, it pulses and dances through every sequence of his follow-up, If Beale Street Could Talk, in all its gorgeous romantic melancholy and sublimated outrage.
Wendy Weinstein/Consequences of Sound
It’s a perfect pairing of sensibilities; Jenkins and Baldwin share a nuanced, lyrical style that conveys the beauty and hope in even the most despairing of situations, with a focus on the emotional truths of their characters. Like the novel, the film is a love story, as well as a powerful indictment of systemic racism and the criminal-justice system.
Mark Kermode/The Observer (UK)
The result is another mesmerising and wholly immersive experience from a film-maker whose love of the medium of cinema – and fierce compassion for Baldwin’s finely drawn characters – shines through every frame.
In the movies, love is cheap. It’s everywhere and nowhere, too often reduced to a formula or a reward. Beale Street knows better. It restores to love, romantic and familial, its sanctity—an ambition that makes it one of the most distinctive love stories in recent memory.