If Beale Street Could Talk
(2018) 119 mins
Director: Barry Jenkins
Writer: Barry Jenkins, from the book by James Baldwin
Cinematography: James Laxton
Production Design: Mark Friedberg
Music: Nicholas Britell
In Harlem in the early 1970s, childhood sweethearts Tish (Kiki Layne), and Fonny (Stephan James) have all the time in the world to plan their shared future. However, a hideous crime on the other side of the town, coupled with a flagrant abuse of power, finds Fonny wrongfully accused and imprisoned for an atrocity he didn’t commit. Tish, who is pregnant, turns to her family and community for support, while her mother Sharon (Regina King) embarks on her own crusade to get justice for Fonny.
Oscar-winner for Best Supporting Actress – Regina King
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Showings of this film are part of our Cinematheque season which is supported by the British Film Institute.
“What makes If Beale Street Could Talk so wonderful is Jenkins’s decision to not only include quotations directly from Baldwin’s original novel, but to handle the text and dialogue with the gentlest of touches and a complete appreciation for its greater meaning and powerful context. Love, family and racial subjugation are all themes that are ingrained into the core of this screenplay, and it is Jenkins’s skill partnered with James Laxton’s gorgeously attentive and effortlessly expressive cinematography, with particular emphasis on looking down the barrel of the lens, that perfectly illustrates the intimate details that could so easily be drowned by such an overpowering underlining plot.” The Upcoming
“Jenkins’s adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1970s novel becomes a heart-stopping cinematic love story, told with a tough but tender truthfulness that left me weeping and swooning. It’s a terrific film, as sinewy as it is sensuous, interweaving stark social-realist themes of prejudice, oppression and imprisonment with a poetic evocation of love, loss and, ultimately, transcendence.” The Guardian