How far will a woman go to protect her lover. All the way is the answer in the terrific If Beale Street Could Talk. Easily one of the best films of the year this romantic drama from EOne Entertainment is now turning up the heat at select Cineplex Cinemas around B.C. Be sure to catch it if you like love sagas.
Director Barry Jenkins does do justice to the
highly acclaimed James Baldwin novel. Set in modern times this film looks
at the plight of two young lovers from Harlem – though the area could be
any ghetto in America. Together Tish and her beau seemed destined for a long
happy life, Check that – a troubling incident with the law dashes their hopes.
Cast in this light Kiki Lane turns in a riveting performance as she tries to
prove her boyfriend ( a steady as he goes shell-shocked Stephan James) is
Pain and struggle pores out of every pore in 19
year old Tish’s body while her family tries Tom insole her. Complicating
matters is the nonchalant attitude of some members of the incarcerated lover’s
family. Wicked indeed are the assaults on the senses as some endless mind games
related to child rearing and religion boil to the surface. You get the picture
as temperatures rise and emotions get the better of some as the stakes between
life and no life rise to the surface.
Picture perfect acting on all sides of this battle to pursue the truth will stick with you afterwards. And a mesmerizing score that ideally parallels the mood of hope and despair serves to further enhance this wonderful little gem from Annapurna Pictures. Except for a very few liberties taken that lead to some unexpected moments If Beale Street Could Talk speaks volumes on religious paranoia and racial strife In modern America and deserves to be heard loud and clear come Oscar time.
By Alan Samuel