Review: “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Set in 1970s Harlem, “If Beale Street Could Talk” tells the heart breaking love story of Tish Rivers (KiKi Layne) and Alonzo ‘Fonny’ Hunt (Stephan James). At a time they should be celebrating their love and the beginning of a new life, they are instead forced to focus on proving Fonny’s innocence in order to get him out of jail for a crime he did not commit.

Even though it is set in the 70s, the racism, injustice and anguish experienced by Tish and Fonny, sadly, still rings true today.

Writer/Director Barry Jenkins delivers a painfully beautiful film which not only explores the abhorrent racism the protagonists face, but he also chooses to focus on how their love gets them through and is the most important thing in life.

He allows the film to take it’s time, without being self indulgent and allows beauty to reign supreme in amongst all of the ugliness.

The performances in this film are so real they hurt – from Layne to James, and Regina King’s, Oscar nominated, and gut wrenching performance as Layne’s mum, who is so desperate to prove her future grandchild’s dad’s innocence that she won’t let anything get in her way. The strength, poise, dignity and beauty in all their performances are inspiring.

How can a film be both beautiful and yet so devastating? How can it be so powerful, yet so upsetting? How can it leave you feeling a sense of hopelessness yet be so full of hope? Well Barry Jenkins’ follow up to the Oscar winning, “Moonlight” is is all of that and so much more. I will never understand how it was not nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards, but that doesn’t mean that it is not one of the stand out films of 2019!

“If Beale Street Could Talk” is in Irish cinemas now.

About The Bellissimo Files

Hi, I’m Sarina Bellissimo and this is the place I come to indulge in my love of all things entertainment. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t fascinated by all things Hollywood/showbiz. I blame my parents! As a child my mum used to force me to watch old Elvis Presley films with her, and both my mum & dad would take my brothers and I to the Drive-In to watch the latest films (this is where my love for ROCKY began!). When not watching movies, I was trying to figure out ways to pull the back off the TV so I could somehow get into it and be a part of all the action on the screen! This blog isn’t a place that revels in gossip and negativity. It’s a place where entertainment is celebrated. That said, this is a place you can turn to for honesty. Honesty and criticism don’t always mean attacks. I choose to criticise the piece of work but not the person and I acknowledge that just because I don’t like something, it doesn’t mean someone else won’t. Here you’ll find interviews with some of the biggest names in the world of Entertainment, reviews, breaking news and my very own musings. Away from The Bellissimo Files, you can find me on Spin 1038 on Saturdays, between 1pm and 3pm,presenting Plan B. There’s celebrity interviews, entertainment news, the low down on the must see movies and music releases of the week, the ultimate guide to what’s on where in the city, as well as masterclasses with experts on standby to answer listeners’ questions. I also appear on TV3’s “Elaine” panel, talk movies on “Ireland AM” and you can sometimes hear me filling in on Moncrieff’s “Movies and Booze “(Newstalk) The Bellissimo Files is constantly evolving. Files (topics) will be added or deleted as time goes on. Feel free to read, watch, comment, share, and make suggestions for what you would like to see on the site. Sarina
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