If Beale Street Could Talk

Critics Consensus

If Beale Street Could Talk honors its source material with a beautifully filmed adaptation that finds director Barry Jenkins further strengthening his visual and narrative craft.

95%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 318
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Movie Info

Set in early-1970s Harlem, If Beale Street Could Talk is a timeless and moving love story of both a couple's unbreakable bond and the African-American family's empowering embrace, as told through the eyes of 19-year-old Tish Rivers (screen newcomer KiKi Layne). A daughter and wife-to-be, Tish vividly recalls the passion, respect and trust that have connected her and her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt, who goes by the nickname Fonny (Stephan James). Friends since childhood, the devoted couple dream of a future together but their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit. Through the unique intimacy and power of cinema, If Beale Street Could Talk honors the author's prescient words and imagery, charting the emotional currents navigated in an unforgiving and racially biased world as the filmmaker poetically crosses time frames to show how love and humanity endure.

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Cast

KiKi Layne
as Tish Rivers
Colman Domingo
as Joseph Rivers
Teyonah Parris
as Ernestine Rivers
Brian Tyree Henry
as Daniel Carty
Michael Beach
as Frank Hunt
Ed Skrein
as Officer Bell
Diego Luna
as Pedrocito
Pedro Pascal
as Pietro Alvarez
Aunjanue Ellis
as Mrs. Hunt
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News & Interviews for If Beale Street Could Talk

Critic Reviews for If Beale Street Could Talk

All Critics (318) | Top Critics (47)

  • Just as the novel version of If Beale Street Could Talk moves between love story and protest novel, a balance Baldwin strikes throughout many of his works, Jenkins' adaptation uses flashbacks to oscillate between two worlds.

    Feb 21, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Jenkins doesn't scratch the surface of the black American experience. He takes you deep into its bones and suggests that far less has changed than the naive may believe.

    Feb 10, 2019 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • The final reel is painful (the bee sting of bigotry). The ending is tough. The compensation resides in the elegant and searing film-making of Jenkins.

    Feb 7, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Here is a film almost woozy with its own beauty and dignity, a film going transcendently high in the face of a racist world going low.

    Feb 6, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Jenkins has cemented his status as a very big deal.

    Feb 5, 2019 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • That's pure cinema. What Baldwin does with words, Mr. Jenkins does visually.

    Jan 11, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

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