‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ is Barry Jenkins’ Latest Moving Masterwork

VANAPHASE™ the Vanadium powerhouse!

If Beale Street Could Talk

A couple years ago, writer-director Barry Jenkins took the film world by storm with his Oscar-winning masterpiece Moonlight. The Best Picture winner was a film brimming with empathy, and it’s personal tale mixed with social issues about the black experience in America established Jenkins as an emerging voice in American cinema. For his highly anticipated follow up, Jenkins adapts the novel If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin, who came back into the public consciousness after the 2016 documentary I Am Not Your Negro. If Beale Street Could Talk further cements Barry Jenkins as one of the best filmmakers working today with his unparalleled ability to craft films that exude empathy in every frame while placing a spotlight on the inequities inherent in American life for black Americans.

Jenkins’ adaptation of Baldwin’s weaves between two distinct periods in the relationship between Alfonzo “Fonny” Hunt (Stephan James) and Clementine “Tish” Rivers (KiKi Lane). One period is a whirlwind romance between the two young lovers as they struggle to make their own way in Harlem. The other is the most trying aspect of their lives. Tish discovers she’s pregnant as Fonny is imprisoned before a trial after being accused of rape. The film deftly moves between these two parallel storylines without ever creating confusion for the audience.

If Beale Street Could Talk captures the hopes and dreams of young lovers as they attempt to make it on their own in hustle and bustle of New York City. We’re witness to the swelling romance between Fonny and Tish as they transition from lifelong friends to lovers. Jenkins employs a light touch in his filmmaking, allowing the actors to turn little gestures into big moments and often without having them utter a single word. That same light touch that brings the warmth of love to the screen is also employed to dash the hopes of Fonny and Tish. It takes a while to learn why Fonny has been imprisoned, and Jenkins slowly unveils the layers to the trumped up case that is devastating the lives of so many. Without making a strained and obvious point, Jenkins highlights an unjust system that has continually made justice an elusive myth for countless black Americans over the course of history.

Within the delicate balance between the lush romanticism and the tragic realities of a twisted criminal justice system, Barry Jenkins finds plenty of room to employ a bit of humor. One scene where Tish and her father Joseph (Colman Domingo), mother Sharon (Regina King), and sister Ernestine (Teyonah Parris) informs Fonny’s family that she’s pregnant with his child finds the emotional scene turning into a rather comical exchange of insults. For a moment you’re able to forget the world of pain that Tish and Fonny have been flung into, but it’s just a moment as Jenkins lulls you into a bit of complacency before injecting a shocking, truly unexpected moment.

The inequities of the criminal justice system highlighted in If Beale Street Could Talk force Tish and her family as well as Fonny’s father (Michael Beach) have to take on various jobs and side hustles in order to pay for Fonny’s defense attorney (Finn Whitrock). With a police department and a district attorney’s office unwilling to provide information, it’s up to the Rivers Family to track down Fonny’s accuser and implore her to reevaluate her accusation. However, she’s fled to Puerto Rico and travelling there requires even more money. Here the film is so adept at illustrating that justice in America is an issue of both race and class.

Another standout scene in the film that highlights the incredible balance between joy and despair features Fonny and Tish having dinner with Daniel (Brian Tyree Henry), an old friend of Fonny’s. It’s a joyous reunion of old friends, laughing and enjoying beers while reminiscing about old times. The mood takes a turn when Daniel reveals that he’s just been released from prison. His plight mirrors the exact same struggle that Fonny will soon face, and in this moment Daniel recalls the horrors of incarceration and the powerlessness of being trapped by system that robs people of their humanity. It’s within this one powerful scene that you can encapsulate all of the swirl of emotions that Barry Jenkins conjures in If Beale Street Could Talk – it’s funny and sad, romantic and tragic, hopeful and heartbreaking, and always brimming with empathy.

With If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins confirms that he was one of the most essential voices in cinema chronicling the black experience in America. The filmmaker’s latest is gorgeous to look at with its impeccable production and costume design captured vividly by cinematographer James Laxton. If Beale Street Could Talk is a movie that stimulates the intellect and stirs the soul, taking the audience through a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts through its moving two-hour journey.

If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Overall Score
4.5

Summary

Another powerful and moving film from writer-director Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk takes the audience of an emotional journey of love and pain while highlighting the inequities of the American criminal justice system in a stunning adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel.

YogaOutlet.com

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Johnny English Strikes Again
Now on Blu-ray: Rowan Atkinson’s Bumbling Superspy Returns in ‘Johnny English Strike Again’

Rowan Atkinson is a comedy genius. The comedy legend is behind...

The Shield: Complete Series
Now on Blu-ray: The Hardboiled Drama of ‘The Shield: The Complete Series’

The Golden Age of Television is populated with anti-heroes. Tony Soprano...

Mr. Capra Goes To War
Olive Films Brings Frank Capra’s WWII Documentaries to Blu-ray With ‘Mr. Capra Goes To War’

The films of legendary director Frank Capra are known for their...

Event News Event Reviews
WhiskyX
WhiskyX is Coming back to Los Angeles January 25, 2019

WhiskyX, the cross country whisky discovery platform, is coming back to...

Alt 98.7 Presents Big Adventure: Music, Comedy & Comic Con Festival, Nov 3-4 in Orange County

In less than a month, Alt 98.7 Presents Big Adventure makes its debut,...

The 9th Annual Brew HA HA Craft Beer Photo Gallery

Photos by FanboyNation Craft Beer Expert, Dave Warner.

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Taco Bell Xbox
The Newest Taco Bell Box is an Xbox – Your Chance to Win a Taco Bell Xbox

Taco Bell and Xbox are partnering up to give fans a chance...

Exclusive Track Premiere from Madden NFL 19!

(July 26, 2018 – Los Angeles, CA) – Lakeshore Records today...

Star Ocean Anamnesis
8.0/10
The Most Intuitively Fun Gameplay of Any Mobile RPG – Star Ocean Anamnesis Review

Star Ocean Anamnesis is hands down the most fun and intuitive gameplay...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Stan Lee, the Co-Creator of the Marvel Universe, Dead at 95

According to reports earlier today, Stanley Martin Lieber aka Stan the...

Five Questions for Gary Morgenstein About ‘A Mound Over Hell’

Gary Morgenstein is a journalist, public relations expert and author with...

Ralph Breaks the Internet Graphic Novel
Dark Horse Disney Ralph Breaks the Internet Graphic Novel Revealed

Dark Horse reveals new original Disney Ralph Breaks the Internet Graphic...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Wrestle Crate Pre-Christmas Unboxing

    Welcome to our first unboxing of Wrestle Crate, this...

Eagle Eyes
Protect Your Eyes with Eagle Eyes Glasses – Eagle Eyes TV Kit Review

Eagle Eyes TV Kit review – Feel the difference and get...

Nooligan Talks About His New DC Collectibles Batman Family Line

Visual Artist Nooligan uses the influences of his First Nation ancestry along...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
SMASH Global Honors Dolph Lundgren, ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley & Lou Ferrigno Dec. 13 in LA

From SMASH Global – HOLLYWOOD – Dec. 3, 2018 – SMASH...

Bellator MMA Makes Valentine’s Weekend Extra Sweet from the Mohegan Sun

From Bellator MMA – LOS ANGELES – On February 15 and 16, Bellator...

LFA 54 Full Results

Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) returned  to Costa Mesa, CA for another...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics presents: Harry Potter and the World Wide Web… of LIES (part of BEHOLD TACOCAT!)

Ron wears a disguise while trying to Catfish Draco.

Comics on the can – SEX (issue #6)

Blah blah blah SEX, blah blah blah crime fiction...

Cultural Junkdrawer The 2018 Snark list

The snark version of the standard end of the year "Best...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Coastal Commoners Ep. 9 Happy Thanksgiving!

This week the Commoners discuss some race baiting issues that bothered...

Coastal Commoners Ep 8 – Saying Farewell to Stan Lee

This week the commoner’s say farewell to Marvel Comics legend, Stan...

Coastal Commoners Ep 7 Mid-Term Elections!

Oh the headaches of elections and what can go wrong. We...

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
They Live Vinyl Soundtrack
BUY! Mondo and Death Waltz to Reissue John Carpenter’s ‘They Live’ Soundtrack on Vinyl

Yesterday was the 71st birthday of the great John Carpenter and...

Deadpool 2 Vinyl Giveaway!

We are giving away a copy of Deadpool 2 Score Soundtrack on...

Crisis on Earth-X Soundtrack
Blake Neely Behind-the-Scenes Recording of Crisis on Earth-X Soundtrack

Check out this exclusive Behind-The-Scenes video with Blake Neely as he...