” ‘Every poet is an optimist. But on the way to that optimism ‘you have to reach a certain level of despair to deal with your life at all.’ Baldwin on his 1974 book “If Beale Street Could Talk”
This beautifully shot and heartfelt, tear jerker is Oscar winning Barry Jenkins follow up to Moonlight. The adaptation of a James Baldwin novel about 19-year old Tish (Kiki Layne) and 22-year-old sculptor Fonny (Stephen James), Tish learns she is pregnant as she fights to free her boyfriend from jail for a crime he is wrongly accused and awaiting trial. From the opening scene when the camera takes a birds eye view of the young couple, taking in Beale street, the film plays out like the notes of a piano and until the very last note you are lost in that moment.
Jenkins depicts the delicate intensity of first love and it’s intimacy, an engaging hypnotic tale of black lives set in 1970’s Harlem. Of the book, it was described as a piece of literature that set out to humanise black men in America. If Beale Street Could Talk screens at the BFI London Film Festival. Dir-Scr Barry Jenkins Prod Adele Romanski, Sara Murphy, Barry Jenkins, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Megan Ellison
With KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Colman Domingo, Brian Tyree Henry, Regina King