If Beale Street Could Talk is a film adaptation of the James Baldwin novel of the same name, written and directed by Moonlight director, Barry Jenkins. It tells the story of two childhood sweethearts, Clementine (Tish) Rivers and Alonzo (Fonny) Hunt as they, with the support of their families, embark on starting a family of their own in 1970s America. Their unexpected but beautiful love story takes a turn for the worst when Fonny is falsely accused of rape. Now what should have been a joyous nine months of preparation quickly becomes a tale of how two families have to navigate something that is very much still a problem both here in the UK and of course America, 40 something years later - the disproportionate mass incarceration of black men, and fight for Fonny’s freedom before Tish gives birth.
The cinematographer in me thoroughly enjoyed all the visuals - from the simple, retro wardrobe choices, to the afros hairstyles that danced on across my screen. The simplicity and intimacy within each frame allows us the viewers to see beyond all the action-packed scenes we’re probably very much used to. To truly appreciate the depth and breadth of each actor’s ability and take in the important moments the director most likely intended for us to.
Whilst I can’t talk about whether Jenkins’ did the book justice or not as I am yet to read it, what I can vouch for is that beyond the aesthetics and even the bittersweet storyline, my favourite thing about watching Beale Street was bearing witness to Jenkins’ beautiful display of the many facets of Black Love.