image from If Beale Street Could Talk

Feature Pick: If Beale Street Could Talk

Directed By Barry Jenkins

cast from if Beale Street Could Talk

cast from If Beale Street Could Talk

If Beale Street Could Talk was released in theaters on January 19, 2019.  Based on the novel written by James Baldwin with the same name, the movie tells a story of a 1970s Harlem romance.  The two main characters, Tish and Fonny are in love and have dreams of building a life together until Tish gets pregnant and Fonny is convicted of a rape he did not commit.

If Beale Street Could Talk is an all too familiar story even today.  For black families in the U.S., there is an acknowledgement of racially-charged systemic injustices associated the prison-industrial complex and the need to address them, as most recently demonstrated with the enactment of the First Step Act, and the anticipated release of almost 200,000 persons previously convicted and incarcerated on nonviolent drug charges that provided harsher treatment for certain offenses than others and resulted in the disproportionate incarceration of blacks, Latinos and Native Americans.  The law represents a first step in prison sentencing reform.  Movement in this area is needed.  Unfortunately, as Beale Street demonstrates, the law only goes so for in providing a remedy for the incarcerated and their loved ones whose lives are obliterated when falsely accused and convicted of crimes.

The compelling performance of Regina King who plays the role of Tish’s mother, Sharon, already has received critical acclaim and recognition, including a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress.  King demonstrates her growth as an accomplished actor and ascension to higher ground in the industry.  Writer and director Barry Jenkins no doubt is in line to emerge as an iconic voice in all that he touches.  For now, so glad he excels in demonstrating the passion and resiliency of black love in his works.  The movie is a must see. Bravo to all.