If Beale Street Could Talk

If Beale Street Could Talk


The Dove Take

Beale Street is beautiful and thoughtful, begging love and generosity for our lives instead of the time of division we experience in this day. Although the content of the film is not for younger viewers, the film proves that love wins.

Dove Review

The Synopsis

A woman in Harlem embraces her pregnancy while she and her family struggle to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime.

The Review:

If Beale Street Could Talk…what would it say? What would it have seen? Barry Jenkins’ (Moonlight) latest film has far less to do with the actual street, which the introduction of the film explains. His cinematographer James Laxton takes focus on the subject of young lovers Tish and Fonny (KiKi Layne and Stephan James) and their trials after he is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit while she becomes pregnant with his child before incarceration. Based on the book by James Baldwin, the film conveys great loyalty to the source material, being both an act of lyrical imagery and sociological observation.

The film’s tagline, “Trust Love All The Way,” serves as a meditation as one watches this film unfold like poetry. Laxton’s camera often paints portraits of the characters involved, all which play important roles in the drama. Noteworthy in this ensemble are Regina King and Colman Domingo as Tish’s parents, extending beyond just warmth and parental support as ways of adding streams of perspective and empathy. In another ace performance is Brian Tyree Henry as a friend of Fonny’s who, in a foreshadowing scene, shares his traumatic experience in prison. The craftsmanship of the film and the performances fold together seamlessly.

If the film gets at all bogged down, it is only because of the more literal legalism that Jenkins seems to feel responsible to cover. It is an act of thoroughness, but it is when the film really becomes poetic that Jenkins strides the greatest. At the end of the film, there is only love at all cost, making Beale Street a remarkable film and message for our time.

Content Description

Faith: Some mention of persisting in the faith of Christ throughout trials
Integrity: Characters make sacrifices to prove innocence and choose love and patience as a diffuser to difficult times.
Sex: Kissing between couples; mention of pregnancy throughout; couple has intercourse (shown onscreen); mention of sexual assault; mild cleavage; some sexual references
Language: "F***"; "Sh**"; slang for female genitals; "D***"; "Hell"; OMG
Violence: A man slaps his wife; some shoving; photographs of racial violence.
Drugs: A handful of occasions of social drinking (wine and liquor); mention of pot; smoking throughout
Nudity: Female nudity above the waist; shirtless men; (all infrequent)
Other: Strong themes of racial injustice worth discussion


Company: Annapurna Pictures
Director: Barry Jenkins
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 119 min.
Reviewer: Rory P.