Rinzy Reviews ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ (2018)

Release Date: December 25

Starring: Stephan James, Kiki Layne, Regina King, et al.


The first trailer for If Beale Street Could Talk left me enthralled. How it raked in award-after-award even without hitting the cinemas stirred up a hunger in me, the kind I haven’t experienced for a movie in recent time.

Based on the hit novel of the same name, this movie, set in early ’70s Harlem, tells the story of daughter and wife-to-be Tish as she vividly recalls the passion, respect and trust that have connected her and her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt, who goes by the nickname Fonny. Friends since childhood, the devoted couple dream of a future together, but their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit. With the help of her family, Tish seeks to clear Fonny’s name before the birth of their child.

The story is a love story between a guy and a lady, and also between parents and their children. It’s also about racism, corrupt police practises, and the importance of having unconditional love and devotion in times of trouble. All these themes are very relevant today.

The movie is beautiful written, and the direction’s even more awesome, Barry Jenkins continues to deliver one amazing work after another. My favorite scene is easily the first sex scene. It clearly depicts all the anxiety and uncertainty that comes with two people in love baring their body and soul to each other for the the first time. The scene is deliberately longer than what many have come to expect from sex in films, but that’s what makes it even more special.

The choreography and lightening is also good. And the acting is perfect… Regina Kings 😍!

One aspect I felt lacking was in the depiction of the glories of the ’70s. This movie didn’t win any award for set and props because it wasn’t part of the story set out to be told in the beginning, and that’s very okay. The set is believable but doesn’t go out of its way to impress.

The chemistry between leads Stephan and Kiki is superb. It’s evident from the very first time I laid my eyes on them. And that chemistry is what made their sex scenes (mentioned earlier) very believable.

Side notes

1 Stephan James looks so much like Russell Hornsby of ‘Grimm’ fame, and Kiki Layne like Rutina Wesley of ‘True Blood’ fame. If both are cast as younger versions of these actors, they’d fit so well.

2 The ending of the movie is sad. Why’d it have to end that way. 😥

Directed by: Barry Jenkins

Rinzy’s Rating: 4/5

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