If Beale Street Could Talk

Trust love all the way
Trust love all the way


D: Barry Jenkins

Annapurna/Pastel/Plan B (Megan Ellison, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski, Sara Murphy & Barry Jenkins)

USA 2018

117 mins


W: Barry Jenkins [based on the novel by James Baldwin]

DP: James Laxton

Ed: Joi McMillon & Nat Sanders

Mus: Nicholas Britell

KiKi Layne (Tish Rivers), Stephane James (Alonzo 'Fonny' Hunt), Regina King (Sharon Rivers), Teyonah Paris (Ernestine Rivers), Colman Domingo (Joseph Rivers), Brian Tyree Henry (Daniel Carty)

If Beale Street Could Snore... 

Actually, that's rather unfair, since I watched this film expecting a courtroom drama, which this really isn't, and though the performances are admirable, I really found it an incredibly dull watch.

Barry Jenkins follow up to 2016's Moonlight is clearly a personal project for the filmmaker, based on a book which he admires greatly, but transforming that passion into something which will be personable for an audience is something which is lacking here, and I personally think it's the type of drama which would work best as a stage play, since it is very set bound and is mostly characters talking amongst themselves about the injustices they suffer, represented here as a young black man who is incarcerated for a crime he didn't commit while his pregnant girlfriend tries to clear his name before she gives birth to their child.

Not to denigrate the film too much, since it does boast strong acting performances, some good cinematography and a beautiful music score. 

For those unfamiliar with the novel, the title refers to the street in New Orleans where jazz was born, though I still think my play on words above is more apt. Admittedly, it was a very different film to the one I was expecting, and it probably deserves another watch so I can re-evaluate it with fresh eyes.


KiKi Layne & Stephane James in If Beale Street Could Talk
KiKi Layne & Stephane James in If Beale Street Could Talk