This isn’t your average holiday film. “If Beale Street Could Talk”, an adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel of the same title, skillfully tackles the intense, wrought subject matter of the originally. In 1970s Harlem, lovers Tish and Fonny have their lives thrown into disarray when Fonny is falsely accused of rape and imprisoned. Though an impassioned commentary, the central relationship between the two leads is really at the heart of the film.
“The purity of the love between them is definitely something that grabbed me,” director Barry Jenkins told The Atlantic. “Baldwin had a few voices that he wrote in, and one of those voices was just deeply sensual, innately in touch with human emotions. But also he could be a very, very angry social critic. And I think this book is the perfect fusion of the more essayistic protest novel and somebody who deeply believed in sensuality and love. When I first read the book, or second-read the book, I thought, How amazing would it be to fuse those two things into a cinematic language?”
You can see the whole trailer here, featuring KiKi Layne and Stephan James:
Barry Jenkins completely broke the mold with “Moonlight” — and “If Beale Street Could Talk” promises the same vision and emotional insight. It will be released in cinemas this Christmas Day.