Barry Jenkins is the directing mastermind behind Oscar winning Drama 'Moonlight', so before starting his newest film edition 'If Beale Street Could Talk' your mind is fully aware of his marvellous talents. The movie titled around America's most iconic street was released in 2018 but Amazon has thankfully placed it among its rentals to enjoy. The story depicts a love tale between Tish and Alonzo living in Harlem in the 1970s who, after being childhood sweethearts, see their life derailed when police arrest Alonzo for a crime he didn't commit. Told through a poetic style of cinematography, with intense frames and lamp-lit spaces, this film screams the exploration of black discrimination and poverty during the "me' decade in America.
The narrative is one of the appealing parts of the film as the two characters are deeply depicted back and forth in time. The music scores, like Moonlight, is outstanding and helps string each scene into the next. Nicholas Britell does a remarkable job creating the sound of mixing trumpets, french horns and strings in the moments of romance. Watching powerful mother figures in movies, especially ones showcasing horrific themes like racism against their children, is absorbing to watch; and actress 'Regina King' and 'Aunjanue Ellis' play these roles brilliantly. There is no surprise that Regina won best supporting actress for this film. You feel for her characters devotion to do whatever it takes to prove her son innocence, and seeing her loneliness contrasted against her courage, is incredibly humbling. Violence isn't extreme in this film, which makes it a reassuring watch. Instead, the script picks up moments of savagery through whispers in the prison yards. The general rhythm of the movie was a joy to experience, as it glides like a piece of music through the distressing moments of this heart breaking relationship.
Tish narrates the story on many occasions in the film giving facts and figures about black discrimination around that time. It would have been more powerful if others characters had been introduced to this, including Sharon and Fonny, as it would have reflected the amount of people being effected by racism at this time. As the story unfolds I found the monologues repetitive as it became very melodramatic between the characters. The music could have solely expressed the drama in these moments instead of repeating excessive amount of words.
This is a weight bearing movie, it's not one that will leave you beaming with happiness. But it is one which will leave you learning. If you want to cuddle up in a blanket and remind yourself of families hardships, exploring the love of parents for their children, romantic love, and separation then grab yourself a handkerchief.