If Beale Street Could Talk, is a film set in early 1970s New Orleans, it follows two main characters. Tish Rivers ( KiKi Layne) and Alonzo Hunt who goes by the nickname Fonny (Stephan James, Selma, Across the Line). The film is mainly set in flashbacks after Fonny’s false accusations and after him being thrown into prison while Tish is pregnant with his child and soon to be his wife. This film was written and directed by Barry Jenkins(III).

This was my first experience with the story of If Beale Street Could Talk. This was actually the first time I had even heard of the book and I really enjoyed the narrative and the way it was told throughout the film. Barry Jenkins relied heavily upon visual storytelling, utilising intense moments of silence where the character simply express themselves using their body language and other indirect mean, and it’s absolutely fantastic. Earlier on when there was a tad less character development, the silences felt a bit awkward with what seemed like, at the time, two complete strangers being intimate. But, later on they become far more developed and those silences begin to mean something properly. Every character has their own part to play and is organically explored as they were all given their own time. Along with the score and absolutely gorgeous cinematography the film speaks more in silence than anything else.

The only issue I had with this film is that it may have jumped into the full blown romance between our two leads, making it feel unnatural in the beginning but after a while our leads are the most convincing and real characters I have seen in a long time, combined with the visual storytelling, the artistry in the cinematography, amazing character development, and a nice provocative soundtrack I would for sure recommend this movie to anyone who has a love of cinema.

9

Pros

  • Fantastic character development, every character if complete and allowed to enjoy their own side stories, it isn't just all about the leads and I appreciate that.
  • The cinematography is gorgeous with much of the camera work being very inspired
  • Soundtrack is excellent.

Cons

  • The first tad of character development was pretty rushed in terms of the romance, making it feel engineered and fake in the beginning. Although that quickly changes.

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