If Beale Street Could Talk is a powerful romantic drama film based on James Baldwin’s 1974 novel of the same name. Directed by Barry Jenkins, the movie was released on January 1, 2023 and stars KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King and Colman Domingo. This award-winning film tells the story of a young African-American couple struggling to stay together amidst the racism, poverty and injustice that threatens to tear them apart. If Beale Street Could Talk is an emotionally moving and visually stunning cinematic experience that will stay with you long after the credits roll. If Beale Street Could Talk- January 1, 2023: Aromantic Drama Film Based on James Baldwin’s 1974 Novel
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If Beale Street Could Talk follows Tish Rivers, a nineteen-year-old African-American woman who is in love with Alonzo Hunt, a young man from Harlem. The two plan to marry but their future is threatened when Alonzo is arrested and charged with a crime he did not commit. With the help of her supportive family, Tish embarks on a quest to clear her beloved’s name and prove his innocence. Along the way, she discovers the truth about their relationship and learns about the power of love and family.
The story takes place in 1970s Harlem and centers around Tish’s struggles to free Alonzo from jail. She navigates an oppressive system that stacks the odds against them and fights for justice. In the process, she learns more about her own strength and identity. Meanwhile, Alonzo deals with the repercussions of his incarceration while trying to maintain hope that he will one day be reunited with Tish.
Tish’s parents and family remain supportive throughout the ordeal and provide her with love, guidance, and strength. At the same time, they are also dealing with their own trials and tribulations of life in a society that often works against them.
In the end, Tish finds a way to bring Alonzo home and they are able to build a future together despite the obstacles they faced. If Beale Street Could Talk is a powerful story of love and resilience that will stay with viewers long after the credits roll.
The lead cast of If Beale Street Could Talk includes Kiki Layne, Stephan James, Regina King, Colman Domingo, Teyonah Parris, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael Beach, Diego Luna, Ed Skrein, and Finn Wittrock. Kiki Layne stars as Tish Rivers, the protagonist of the story and daughter of Joseph (Regina King) and Sharon Rivers (Aunjanue Ellis). Stephan James stars as Tish’s partner Fonny Hunt, a young artist and father-to-be. Regina King stars as Joseph, a hardworking woman and protective mother. Colman Domingo plays Fonny’s father Frank Hunt, a minister and supportive father. Teyonah Parris stars as Frieda Rivers, Tish’s sister. Brian Tyree Henry plays Daniel Carty, an old friend of Fonny’s who helps him out of a difficult situation. Michael Beach stars as Mr. Rivers, Tish and Frieda’s grandfather. Diego Luna appears as Pedrocito, a Puerto Rican friend of Fonny’s. Ed Skrein stars as a racist cop and Finn Wittrock plays Rafael “Ponytail” Edwards, Fonny’s artist friend. The cast also includes Dave Franco and Emily Rios in supporting roles.
If Beale Street Could Talk began production in October 2017, and principal photography wrapped in January 2018. The film was shot on location in various neighborhoods of New York City, including the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens.
The film was produced by Annapurna Pictures and Plan B Entertainment, with Jenkins serving as executive producer alongside Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner. Production designer Mark Friedberg created sets for the movie, including a recreation of 1970s Harlem. Cinematographer James Laxton provided additional visuals for the film, capturing key moments of the story in visually-stunning ways.
In addition to the production team behind If Beale Street Could Talk, many artists and musicians contributed to the project. Music supervisor Kier Lehman was responsible for curating the soundtrack for the film, which included pieces from artists such as Terence Blanchard, Ella Fitzgerald, and Stevie Wonder. Costumes were designed by Patricia Norris and makeup was overseen by artist Eryn Krueger Mekash.
If Beale Street Could Talk was released in the United States on November 30, 2018. It had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2018 and also screened at the AFI Fest on November 9, 2018. The film was released by Annapurna Pictures and distributed by Annapurna in partnership with Metro Goldwyn Mayer.
On January 4, 2019, If Beale Street Could Talk became available to stream on Amazon Prime Video. It has also been released on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download.
The film had a limited release in the US, beginning on November 30, 2018. As of April 2019, it had grossed over $14 million worldwide.
If Beale Street Could Talk received critical acclaim, with many praising Jenkins’ direction and the performances of the cast. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 98% based on 257 reviews, with an average rating of 8.7/10. The site’s critical consensus reads: “Beale Street confirms Barry Jenkins as a storyteller of uncommon insight and humanistic empathy, radiating kindness, compassion, and a deeply affecting power.” Metacritic gave the film a weighted average score of 94 out of 100, based on 45 critics, indicating “universal acclaim”.
Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “A+” on an A+ to F scale. Audience reception was also generally positive, with an average audience score of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Many reviews praised the performances of the cast, particularly KiKi Layne in her debut role and Regina King as her mother. Variety called the film “an intensely beautiful and deeply affecting melodrama” and called it Jenkins’ “most mature work to date”.
The film was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Adapted Screenplay for Jenkins, Best Supporting Actress for King, and Best Original Score for Nicholas Britell. King won her category, becoming only the second black woman in Oscar history to win for Best Supporting Actress.
If Beale Street Could Talk has been critically acclaimed since its release, receiving numerous awards and nominations. At the 91st Academy Awards, the film was nominated for three awards, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Score. It also won two Golden Globe Awards in 2019 for Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture, and two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Motion Picture and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture. In addition, the film was honored with six Independent Spirit Award nominations, including Best Feature, Best Director, and Best Cinematography. The film was also nominated for eight Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, winning Best Adapted Screenplay.