“Neither love nor terror makes one blind: Indifference makes one blind.”
― James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk
It isn’t only the dawn of a New Year but the beginning of a new season – Award show season. Arguably the most wonderful time of the year, it brings a period of celebration, reflection and storytelling. I wanted to start the New Year strong with a film that was thought-provoking and undeniably moving. If Beale Street Could Talk was all that and more.
Based on the classic novel, written by James Baldwin, Beale Street tells a story of irrevocable love, unwavering hope and heart-wrenching injustice. Taking place in 1970’s Harlem, Fonny (Stephan James) is awaiting trial in prison for a crime he did not commit, while his pregnant fiancée, Tish (KiKi Layne), is doing all she can with the help of both of their families to clear his name.
Each scene feels like a page in a book is being read to you. The story moves back and forth through time, from the beginning of Fonny and Tish’s relationship to when they were children to where they are at now. It’s told using an incredibly fluid score, layered on top of eye-catching cinematography that uses pops of color to evoke the strongest of emotions.
This film would be nothing if it wasn’t for its fantastic cast. Regina King, who plays Tish’s mother, has already won a Golden Globe this season for her performance. A mother’s love knows no boundaries and King’s dedication to the role leaps off the screen into your heart. Stephan James and KiKi Layne’s chemistry is so powerful, it will remind you of your first love and the aching you felt being without them.
If Beale Street Could Talk has all the right ingredients for the making of an Academy Award Best Picture nominee. How will it measure up compared to the other stand-out films of 2018? We will have to wait and see. In the mean time, listen to what Beale Street has to say. Now playing in theaters everywhere.
Score: ★★★½ /5
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