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If Beale Street Could Talk 15 rating

Barry Jenkins follows his Oscar®-winning Moonlight with an audacious, distinctive and assured adaptation of James Baldwin’s account of love, injustice and racism in America.

Drama 2018 119 mins

Director: Barry Jenkins



‘Love is what brought you here and if you trusted it this far, trust it all the way.’ Tish (KiKi Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James) have known each other since childhood, but only latterly discovered that the safe, easy familiarity between them has bloomed into a love so intoxicating it promises everlasting joy and happiness. But life is not destined to be so easy for a young black couple living in 1970s Harlem. Fonny is falsely accused of a rape and an unjust judicial system refuses to acknowledge the impossibility of his having committed the crime. Tish and her family struggle to exonerate him.

This is only the second time a book by Baldwin has been adapted for the screen (Robert Guédiguian directed a Marseille-set version of this story in 1998). In adapting Beale Street, Jenkins creates an authentic and graceful film about black lives in America – like a missing piece of cinema history for people long denied representation on screen. And with cinematographer James Laxton (Moonlight) and designer Mark Friedberg (Wonderstruck, Selma), he has crafted a ravishing world. The lushness of the film’s images interacts beautifully with its spoken text, capturing the poetry of Baldwin’s language. Fonny and Tish’s story asserts that, even in a world of corruption and prejudice, love and dignity can prevail.