If Beale Street Could Talk

I kinda stalled on this one. I had some excuses, but the truth is I wanted to make sure it was gonna be riding high into awards season before I invested my time in it. I did not expect to like this. I thought it was gonna be pretentious and artsy and while beautifully put together, not all that interesting to me. I thought I already knew what it was gonna try and say and I didn’t need to be bored for two hours as it was all said to me. Boy, was I so wrong about all of it.

The follow up to Barry Jenkin’s Moonlight is about a young African American couple in Harlem in the 70’s. The two have been in love since childhood and are happy to finally start their lives together, or so they think. The young man, Fonny, is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, and soon after fiance Tish finds out she’s pregnant. Tish sets out to try and prove Fonny’s innocence in a world where the entire deck is stacked against them.

I guess there’s one thing I was correct on in my otherwise false assumptions I made about this film. It was absolutely beautiful. Watching it felt like walking thru an art museum for two hours, it was that gorgeous. The colors and the music and the atmosphere all blended together like a stunning painting.

But the real glue that held it together was the relationship between Fonny and Tish. It goes beyond #relationshipgoals. What they had was pure and rare and so very special. They had this trust and intimate understand of each other that I was in awe of. Surely everything had to work out perfectly for them, right?

At some point, the realization hit me that no, it couldn’t possibly work out. Not at this time, not at this place. I won’t spoil how it ends, but partway thru the movie I knew that the ending couldn’t be what I was hoping for. And I was so heartbroken at this realization, moreso than any film in recent memory. My chest felt heavy as I continued to watch it play out.

Now we know I’m more into popcorn movies than prestige ones. This isn’t the type that I’d categorize under “entertainment”. It might not be something I feel the need to see again, but seeing it once was an absolutely worthwhile experience. And the awards buzz it’s earning is warranted.

If Beale Street Could Talk – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n

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