If Beale Street Could Talk: It Wouldn’t Have To! (Score: 9/10)

PHOTOCRED: Annapurna Pictures

What I mean is, so much of the gold in this film happens in the heat of its silence.

This riveting love story is told through the full spectrum of human emotion and experience: the devastating sadness of being split from your beloved; the anger of overt racism and oppression; the blow of betrayal in your bloodline; the happiness of two heartbeats in conversation; the monotony of months with no justice; the utter joy of justice-for-once; the rambunctiousness of childhood friends reunited. So much of this lives in the eyes, the body language, the cries, the laughter, the breath.

You can’t just “act” that type of stuff out. You gotta be that character; truly embody that role. And for that, KiKi Layne and Stephan James put on Oscar-worthy performances.

Worth mention: this movie takes place in New York. It’s based on James Baldwin’s famous play (by the same name), and that too takes place in New York. The idea, as I understand it (I didn’t read that one — though everything Baldwin touches is gold), is that if Beale Street could talk, it would more or less tell a Harlem story. And this story is brought to the screen in a way that I believe would make Baldwin proud.

Until next time,


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