If Beale Street Could Talk is a beautiful adaptation of the book by James Baldwin. The story takes place in 1970’s Harlem. It’s the story of the love of Alonzo “Fonny” Hunt (Stephan James) and Tish Rivers (KiKi Layne). Tish and Fonny have known each other since they were small children, and always been close. Their relationship turns romantic when Fonny is 22 and Tish is 19. Tish becomes pregnant and the couple move into a small apartment together. Soon afterward, Fonny is arrested and falsely charged with rape. Fonny is jailed while Tish and her family hire an attorney and do all they can to get the charges against Fonny dropped before the baby is born.
Beale Street is the first film to be directed by acclaimed filmmaker Barry Jenkins since his Oscar winning Moonlight. It does not disappoint. Technically, it’s a stunning film. The photography is excellent. Jenkins uses the camera with fluid movement to bring viewers in and out of the story. Sets and costumes are evocative of the 1970’s. The score is also lovely, combining blues, jazz, and a romantic sound.