If Beale Street Could Talk movie poster
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If Beale Street Could Talk
If Beale Street Could Talk movie poster

If Beale Street Could Talk Movie Review

Now available on Blu-ray and DVD (Buy on Amazon)

Sometimes directors make a movie so fantastic, they have nothing left in the tank. Two years ago, Barry Jenkins gave us Moonlight, a movie so good that the Academy almost forgot to award it Best Picture. Jenkins is back with If Beale Street Could Talk, and unfortunately...

...it’s nearly as good.

If poems and movies could be one, they’d look a lot like the mesmerizing If Beale Street Could Talk. Exquisitely made and powerful from start to finish, Beale Street is a profound statement about black life in America and an intimate look at a single broken family trying to make the best of the circumstances at hand.

Based on a book by James Baldwin, Beale Street is written and directed by Jenkins and it’s clear that he once again put his heart and soul into every detail of this beautiful film. You can practically hear and certainly feel the film’s heartbeat, every scene pulsing and humming with life—even in the face of despair. Few directors seemingly take as much care as Jenkins does with every facet of a production, and it shows throughout.

Not that Jenkins did everything himself.

The music, by Nicholas Britell, is intoxicating, a perfect complement to the story. Between the score and the gorgeous cinematography by James Laxton, which turns even the simplest of scenes into a fluid, living-and-breathing experience, If Beale Street Could Talk is a masterfully made movie that makes you hope the collaboration between these three men continues far into the future.

Of course, no matter how technically sound the movie is, it could only go so far without a powerhouse cast. Thankfully, Jenkins and casting director Cindy Tolan found an amazing group of actors to bring the screenplay to life. KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King, and Colman Domingo are all excellent, their chemistry explosive.

If Beale Street Could Talk isn’t quite as powerful as Moonlight—whereas that movie just got better and better as it went along, Beale Street does lose a touch of its magic as the story progresses—but even a slightly lesser experience is still an amazing one that shouldn’t be missed.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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