If Beale Street Could Talk - LFF Review: “When Racism Wins, Resilience Rises”

Other | Sunday 17th February 2019 | Francesco

If Beale Street Could Talk was written in 1974. Baldwin’s attempt to depict black people’s struggles and joys in Harlem is a powerful and superb novel. Barry Jenkins had the difficult task to translate this story on-screen and he delivered. The story follows Tish and Fonny, a young black couple who is divided by a terrible incident: Fonny is falsely accused of rape. While he is in jail, Tish finds out that she is pregnant and their two families will try their best to free Fonny and give these two kids a chance to live a proper life together.

This is a harsh and sad story that puts in the center two fascinating and innocent characters who suffer because of institutionalised racism and absurd police brutality. Jenkins’ style is distinctive: his long shots and close-ups, the visually stunning esthetics and the powerful score take the viewer by the hand in this difficult journey of love and loss. Trust love all the way is the movie’s motto and the central core of this story. Love guides every move of these deep and complex characters. It is a story that will speak to you.

Another strong aspect of If Beale Street Could Talk is the cast: Regina King is stellar. Her performance is profound and will strike the viewer with emotions. In the young cast, we find Stephan James, Kiki Lane, Teyonah Parris, and they are all well chosen and significantly heartbreaking in these roles. In a similar way to Moonlight, every detail of this movie is thoughtfully in the right place and the overall result is a work of art.

The movie didn’t receive the much-anticipated nomination for Best Picture, but don’t be fooled by the Oscars: If Beale Street Could Talk is a movie we will talk about in the years to come. It is in cinemas right now. Have a look at the trailer below: