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If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)

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

Director:

Barry Jenkins

Writers:

Barry Jenkins (written for the screen by), James Baldwin (based on the book by)
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Popularity
145 ( 20)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 86 wins & 153 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:

$14,884,825, 24 March 2019
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Principal photography started on Monday 16th October 2017. See more »

Goofs

When Tish is waiting on a subway platform where the 1960s-style enamel column plates say that the station is 135th St (probably on the 8th Ave line rather than on the Lenox Ave line). However, the mosaic on the wall above the tracks features a capital 'B' -- suggesting that filming may have taken place in the now-closed-off part of the Bowery station on the Nassau St line. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in AniMat's Crazy Cartoon Cast: And The Nominees Are... (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

The Lady
Written and performed by Webster Young
Courtesy of Concord Music
See more »

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User Reviews

Heartwarming & Heartbreaking In Equal Doses
2 February 2019 | by CinemaClownSee all my reviews

A sumptuously shot, delicately layered & beautifully composed symphony of love, hope, tragedy, sacrifice & communal bonding, If Beale Street Could Talk is a pure, poetic & passionate piece of work from Barry Jenkins that presents the filmmaker making terrific use of his skillset to deliver yet another emotionally resonant fable.

The story follows a young African-American woman whose life takes a tragic turn after her fiancé is wrongfully arrested for a crime he didn't commit. With the couple expecting their first child, she races against time to prove his innocence and seeks support from her family who help her throughout her pregnancy and with the case.

Fresh from his Academy Award-winning Moonlight, writer-director Barry Jenkins translates James Baldwin's novel on the film canvas with honesty & authenticity, thus making sure the story's essence remains in tact. Each scene is crafted with care & compassion, and the resulting imagery from that is rich in both colours & emotions.

From a technical standpoint, If Beale Street Could Talk is sophisticated filmmaking throughout. The images aren't just gorgeously rendered but are more than capable of narrating the entire story without any verbal exposition. The unhurried pacing is deliberate yet may not appease all while Nicholas Britell's stirring score is as fitting as it is emotionally evocative.

Coming to the performances, the film packs a reliable cast in Kiki Layne, Stephan James, Regina King, Colman Domingo, Brian Tyree Henry & Ed Skrein, and none of them falter in their respective roles. Layne & James play the young couple and share a heartfelt chemistry on screen. Skrein is easily detestable as the racist cop. And King leaves her own mark with a solid input.

On an overall scale, If Beale Street Could Talk is an amalgamation of polished direction, sincere writing, arresting photography, mesmerising score & committed performances that manages to be heartwarming & heartbreaking in equal doses, and finds Barry Jenkins channeling his creative energy to give expression to his African-American legacy through the eyes of a young couple, their families & their lives.


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