For Barry Jenkins, I thought “Moonlight” (2016) was brilliant. “If Beale Street Could Talk” is also brilliant. However, in that context it is more so amazing with its breathtaking cinematography, its vast movement of different camera angles, and its acting. I felt it was very similar to “Moonlight” based on its plot, its conflict, and the focus being the two main characters are African-American facing issues in regards to their race.
The film focuses on Tish Rivers and Alonzo “Fonny” Hunt (Kiki Layne and Stephan James). A couple that is on their way to having their first child, however Hunt is guilty of a crime that is false. Therefore, Rivers and her family struggles to prove his innocence. It becomes a visual and emotional journey of politics, love, distrust, and stress. As viewers watch the movie they see the emotions in both the eyes of the main characters of what they are feeling. Cinemtographer, James Laxon (also was the cinematographer who did the lighting and such for “Moonlight”), has a variety of moments in the film where he gears on emotional faces to which enhances the drama of “If Beale Street Could Talk.”
With this movies technical elements, I loved the vast imagery of New York City. The colors were faded in a sense that strengthens the time period of the people. The time period being the 1950s, the wealthy and the poor, and the different types of businesses that existed. The film also incorporates competition among different minorities and such.
When I walked out of the auditorium after “If Beale Street Could Talk” I left with mixed emotions. Not negative or positive, but I came to realize an aspect of life. That everyone in life deserves to be treated equally. No matter what race, religion, or gender. The conflict of the film is not fair for Rivers and Hunt, the issue though is they do not have enough witnesses or authority on their side to prove Hunt is innocent. That is all because of their skin color. I felt like I was watching “Moonlight” but with different people and a different time frame. “Moonlight” geared on a boy that was African-American growing up with transitional issues in his different stages of life. “If Beale Street Could Talk” follows people struggling because of their race. Both gear on issues in regards to the main characters struggling because of being African-American. Jenkins is definitely good at making his viewers have feelings towards his films when they come to abrupt scenarios.
Therefore, “If Beale Street Could Talk” is a must watch. It will leave viewers in tears, but also captivate them by its scenery and its music. I will give this movie three and a half stars.