Movie Crush: If Beale Street Could Talk

Hollywood love stories—if you have seen one, you’ve seen them all!

When I do actually find time (which is rare with 5-year-old twins) to watch a movie, I won’t even search through the romance category anymore. In my opinion, they are all the same and always garner the same emotional feelings.  I may cry, I’ll be able to predict the ending, and after it’s over I will feel slightly sad that I don’t have that kind of love (and then be over it and happy again five minutes later).


And it is for all these reasons that I am completely thrilled and eagerly anticipating the release of If Beale Street Could Talk, which looks like it will be a refreshing and unique take on an authentic love story.


Director, writer, and producer, Barry Jenkins has done it again. A true creative genius, he is also known for Moonlight (2016) and Medicine for Meloncholy (2008).


The movie is based off the book by James Baldwin and when asked his opinion on Baldwin Barry said “James Baldwin is a man of and ahead of his time; his interrogations of the American consciousness have remained relevant to this day. To translate the power of Tish and Fonny’s love to screen in Baldwin’s image is a dream I’ve long held dear. Working alongside the Baldwin Estate, I’m excited to finally make that dream come true.”


And in an interview with Vanity Fair breakout star KiKi Layne (who plays Tish) shared “The film talks in such a real way about the injustices the black community faced in the early 70s but still face today, issues of wrongful incarceration and what the justice system looks like for black people growing up in poverty. But at the core of it is a really beautiful love story between Tish and Fonny. I don’t feel like I’ve seen this for young black actors—there’s this tenderness that I just don’t see.”


The Press Release Reads…


Set in early-1970s Harlem, If Beale Street Could Talk is a timeless and moving love story of both a couple’s unbreakable bond and the African-American family’s empowering embrace, as told through the eyes of 19-year-old Tish Rivers (screen newcomer KiKi Layne). A daughter and wife-to-be, Tish vividly recalls the passion, respect and trust that have connected her and her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt, who goes by the nickname Fonny (Stephan James). 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.

“Through the unique intimacy and power of cinema, If Beale Street Could Talk honors the author’s prescient words and imagery, charting the emotional currents navigated in an unforgiving and racially biased world as the filmmaker poetically crosses time frames to show how love and humanity endure.”


What do you think? Will you go see it?


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