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.
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 »
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 »
You ready for this?
I've never been more ready for anything in my whole life.
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My Country 'tis of Thee
Written by Billy Preston and Joseph Greene
Performed by Billy Preston
Courtesy of A&M Records under license from Universal Music Enterprises See more »
Jenkins' Adaptation of James Baldwin is Deeply Powerful
Two years after sending shockwaves through the film world with "Moonlight," which went on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, Barry Jenkins is back with "If Beale Street Could Talk." Needless to say, the film is excellent and is everything one could hope a follow-up to "Moonlight" would be. The film follows a young African-American couple in Harlem before and during when the man is wrongfully accused of sexual assault. While such difficult subject matter could feel slightly tone-deaf to some in the era of #MeToo, viewers should rest assured that Jenkins handles the material with a delicate and incredibly thoughtful sense of sensitivity. Like "Moonlight," the film's aesthetic qualities feel almost lyrical in tone, which is a beautiful sight to behold. The score is also superb as well, managing to be both quietly rousing and emotionally stirring.
Jenkins' technique of characterizing the setting or settings where his films are set is put to great use here. New York City feels almost like a character in this film, as it adds a rich tapestry to the film's narrative. This sense is heightened further when paired with a meticulous sound design, where even simple and day-to-day sounds like a subway car rolling into the station enhance the viewing experience. The acting is strong and quietly powerful from beginning to end, and the amount of thoughtful character development that Jenkins deploys throughout the story's narrative is commendable. The same can be said to the film's frequent use of narration. In many other films, this could have come off as annoying, but the film uses this tactic to great ends here by primarily using it to enhance the audience's emotional connection to the characters. Such a connection further builds up the powerful nature of the film's narrative, which makes a powerful and deeply tragic statement on the nature of racism without ever resorting to feeling heavy-handed by the end. I will note that the film does take some time to get going and has a few minor redundancies in its beginning scenes. But otherwise, this film is superb and on par with "Moonlight" in quality. Baldwin's prose is not just honored in this film, but it is cherished. 9/10
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