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If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)

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A young woman embraces her pregnancy while she and her family set out to prove her childhood friend and lover innocent of a crime he didn't commit.

Director:

Barry Jenkins

Writers:

Barry Jenkins (written for the screen by), James Baldwin (based on the book by)
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Popularity
758 ( 113)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 88 wins & 165 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
KiKi Layne ... Tish Rivers
Stephan James ... Alonzo 'Fonny' Hunt
Regina King ... Sharon Rivers
Teyonah Parris ... Ernestine Rivers
Colman Domingo ... Joseph Rivers
Ethan Barrett Ethan Barrett ... Young Fonny
Milanni Mines Milanni Mines ... Young Tish
Ebony Obsidian ... Adrienne Hunt
Dominique Thorne Dominique Thorne ... Sheila Hunt
Michael Beach ... Frank Hunt
Aunjanue Ellis ... Mrs. Hunt
Diego Luna ... Pedrocito
Ed Skrein ... Officer Bell
Emily Rios ... Victoria Rogers
Pedro Pascal ... Pietro Alvarez
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Storyline

African-American teen sweethearts Fonny and Tish are ripped apart when Fonny is wrongly arrested for the rape of a Puerto Rican woman because of the machinations of a racist cop. While seeking justice for Fonny, a pregnant Tish relies on her Harlem community, including her sister, mother Sharon and future mother-in-law.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Trust Love All the Way

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

25 December 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

If Beale Street Could Talk See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$224,476, 16 December 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$14,915,773, 11 April 2019
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Part of the filming took place at St. Nicolas Avenue, which Barry Jenkins knows well for having lived in the corner on 145th Street for a long time. See more »

Goofs

Beale St. is a famous street in Memphis, not New Orleans. It has nothing to do with Louis Armstrong. It is noted for blues, e.g., BB King, among other things. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tish Rivers: You ready for this?
Fonny: I've never been more ready for anything in my whole life.
See more »


Soundtracks

I Wish I Knew
Written by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon
Performed by The John Coltrane Quartet (as John Coltrane Quartet)
Courtesy of The Verve Music Group under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

Two Love Birds.
23 January 2019 | by merelyaninnuendoSee all my reviews

If Beale Street Could Talk

Jenkins has made a romantic film whose drama may fiddle around the borders of racism and inequality but its heart lies on demanding answers from humanity. Initially, one would presume it to be a film about racism, but there is a lot more to explore than social satire, personally the soothing affectionate love that flows throughout the film spoke to me the most. If its first half is gripping family drama, resisting the obvious judgements of the society, the second half grows more head to head and this deep dive of characterization of his characters is where Jenkins steals the show.

With all the chaos going through the film, there is an easiness in storytelling, the still camera, the illuminating thoughts of Layne, the calm sensible approach to the storm is what encourages you to hold on to it. And unlike Coogler or Lee, Jenkins has never been provocative, his confidence on his textbook productive methods speaks vividly on screen, like within the first few minutes, the conflicts between the family gets bubbled up expressively on the screen which shows his brilliant execution skills.

But then this is no Moonlight, for a brief period Jenkins does lose its audience when the script gets damp, that entire middle act falls under the obligation category, it's that part where to offer a better closure Jenkins had to swoop it up on screen. One of the finest bits of the film is when Layne narrates her version of the world. It is so finely detailed and beautiful written that all of it gets in your bones within a snap, her job description is something that will stay with you throughout the course of the film.

Jenkins may highlight each character by casting bigger actors, but he counts them on script with equal sincerity that leaves a long lasting impression, from Franco to Pascal to Rios to Skrein, each of them gets a unique act to play, that becomes into an antic itself. Even Luna's cameo that is barely there for a scene, casts an impression since the way Layne describes how she observes things. James as the victim of both love and hate, never manages to emerge himself ad more than a pity or a mellow case. While, Layne is the real deal, her carefully constructed and calculative performance is what glues all these characters tightly.

Personally I prefer her in the bits where she is alone, on her own, away from James, that is when her real personality is brought out. King, on her supporting role deserves all the hype she comes with, her sharp bitter tongue whips you for its honesty and generosity. The ultimate final punch of hers which the movie was building towards, her compelling scene with Rios defines her excellence on performance. This project of Jenkins is a bit amiable, satisfied in its own term, If Beale Street Could Talk expands the possibility of the outcomes of a definitive case, in here, the romance conjured by him is his big win.


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