Based on rightly celebrated American novelist and social critic James Baldwin’s book of the same name, at the centre of the story is Tish. Tish is a pregnant young black woman who’s desperately scrambling to prove her fiancé innocent of a terrible crime.
There are some moments in this movie where I wanted to hit the fast forward button for a few seconds. Yet, overall I’d say that at first you may resist the sometimes almost dream-like pace of this story, but soon enough you surrender to it. And you do so on account of the well written dialogue, the musical score, the great performances and Jenkins’s depiction of a truly united, loving family – generally speaking and in the face of great injustice.
It was during the most heartbreaking scenes in this movie that the full meaning behind Baldwin’s book title, ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ quickly came to light. And as it did so, my head and heart started wishing that the truth of the story would end up being ‘When Beale Street Spoke.’
Well edited with flashbacks that are expertly woven in, this one is a movie that will one minute break your heart and have you extremely disappointed in the capacity of the human to hate. Then the next minute make you smile at the beauty of love as you take a moment to appreciate the strength and love of family and friends when you need them most.
As a fan of great writing, I can only imagine the pride of the actors who got to speak Baldwin’s words. The writing stood out so much for me that, had I not already known that Baldwin was behind it as the movie played, I’d have definitely had to make a note to look this great ‘new writer’ up.
Watch it for all the reasons above. Especially the dialogue, the family unit, for some insight into being black in America, to discover KiKi Layne – if you didn’t already know – and of course, love.
Happy Film Loving