If Beale Street Could Talk - Review / by Lia Crawford

Timing is everything. I was able to see If Beale Street Could Talk in Evanston's CineArts theater last Wednesday. According to IMDb, the film has received 52 wins and 120 nominations, including a win at the Golden Globe Awards this evening. In my opinion, the film and cast deserve every award available.

The film centers around 19-year-old Tish Rivers (KiKi Layne; Chicago Med - 2016) and her 22-year-old fiancè, Alonzo "Fonny" Hunt (Stephen James; Shots Fired - 2017) as they fight to prove his innocence for a crime he did not commit. The heartbreaking part is the relevancy of this story is still strong today.

Based on James Baldwin's 1974 novel of the same name, Barry Jenkins transforms Balwin's words to screen with such eloquence and beauty. Jenkins won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2017 for Moonlight, so the quality of his work comes as no surprise. He has won a total of 79 awards with 112 nominations for his work in the field.

The film has only had limited release US distribution, affecting its box office numbers significantly at $2,584,953 as of January 3rd, 2019 with approximately a $12,000,000 budget. However, this film is far from a failure cinematically. Between the intoxicating love between Tish and Fonny radiating from the screen and the support of Tish's parents, Sharon (Regina King; American Crime - 2017) and Joseph (Colman Domingo; The Birth of A Nation - 2016) Rivers, I was glued to the screen for every breath. The film made me laugh, cry, sigh the schoolgirl in love sigh, and feel enraged all in a 1hr and 59 minutes. Teyonah Parris, Brian Tyree Henry, and Michael Beach also make an appearance in the film as family and friends of the loving couple.

Specifically speaking, Regina King secured the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture for the film. She used her time on stage to say, "I'm going to use my platform to say that in the next two years, everything I produce is going to be 50 percent women." If Beale Street Could Talk definitely had a cast that was balanced with dynamic men and women who will undoubtedly have phenomenal careers after awards season.

If it's in your area, I suggest going to see the film, otherwise, wait for the Netflix release date. I promise it's worth it.