If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) - Rotten Tomatoes

If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)

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Critic 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.

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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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Critic Reviews for If Beale Street Could Talk

All Critics (78) | Top Critics (11)

Barry Jenkins channels all of James Baldwin's lyricism and anger into a story of love and injustice that burns with a gentle flame, occasionally blazing into a white heat.

November 7, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

You've never seen romantic love depicted on screen with such lyrical and gorgeous intensity, or systemic injustice brought to such vivid and enraging life. Film classes will be taught about Jenkins' use of color.

October 8, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Jenkins has cemented his style: lush romance on top, hyper-realistic despair just beneath the surface.

September 15, 2018 | Full Review…

If the film lacks Moonlight's sheer expressive power and primal simplicity, Jenkins is reaching further this time, telling a bigger story than the heartbreak and alienation of one taciturn kid.

September 12, 2018 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
Top Critic

Are you in the mood for love yet? Jenkins' movie will put you there.

September 10, 2018 | Full Review…

Jenkins creates many remarkable scenes, particularly as the male characters discuss the racist realities with which they live.

September 10, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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