If Beale Street Could Talk


If Beale Street Could Talk, follows the story of two childhood friends and now lovers, Alonzo ‘Fonny’ and his wife to be Tish. Fonny has wrongly been accused for the rape of a woman. Tish, her family and Fonny’s dad do everything in their power to try and bring some justice for the wrong imprisonment of Fonny.

 If Beale Street Could Talk was shot in a totally unique way, the cinematography and editing of this film stands out richly. Combined with a mixture of close-up face shots to illustrate the intense emotion the character is going through. The face close-ups describe what words can’t express, along with the use of fading and cool angles used to capture great moments in full effects. There’s even a blend of photography in Beale Street which is rarely used in feature films. Scenes and locations are smoothly transitioned from one to another.


If Beale Street Could Talk is a drama, but serves as a biopic describing the lives of two lovebirds who have been separated due to no fault of their own. The two create a strong attachment to the viewer and as a viewer you really hope love wins. It was great seeing the protagonists as two black dark skin lovers, which is rare in feature films. The shots were filmed in a way that complimented and highlighted the richness of their skin tone.


The cast of If Beale Street Could Talk is made up of a worthy mix of actors, from veteran actors to new upcoming stars. They all beautifully act out their roles, Stephan James as a strong black man, Kiki Layne as a soft and gentle fiancé and Regina King as a selfless and committed mother and mother in law. Collectively they create a great cast and an aspiring fictional family.


The main theme of If Beale Street Could Talk is sadness and suffering, but it is complimented with some funny moments. It makes sense why the movie is the way it is and conveys what the movie is trying to achieve. It’s not just a romantic movie, it is a reminder of the black experience 50 years ago, but honing in on the serious fact that not much has changed from then to now.


The women in this film play predominant roles, Regina King, Tish’s mum who gives her all to fight for her son in laws freedom. One of my best (maybe favourite or another word) scenes in Beale Street is when Sharon (Tish’s mum) confronts the woman who accused her son in law of rape. Regina King has the ability to put on a strong face regardless of the pain she’s going through, she was remarkable.


Barry Jenkins has transformed a book into a great movie, most deserving of its golden globe wins and academy award nominations. It is not for everyone but if you are a hopeless romantic and drama is your genre it is definitely worth a watch.

Subomi Odanye