If Beale Street Could Talk: Q & A with Barry Jenkins



Mr. Barry Jenkins, recognized from his 2016 Oscar Award winning film Moonlight, adapted his incomparable skill of creativity in his newest film If Beale Street Could Talk. Mr. Jenkins was inspired to develop the film after he read James Baldwin’s novel If Beale Street could talk.

The movie centers around two childhood friends: Tish and Fonny.  As they grow up, their dedicated friendships transforms into a warm, deep love and commitment to each other. The film shows loving scenes of Tish and Fonny bathing together. Splashing water around freely and laughing unapologetically. Flashbacks of these moments throughout the movie remind the audience of their genuine respect for eachother.  A positive, pure view of black love.

As their love has become realized, Fonny is accused of rape and sent to jail. Tish’s world is turned upside down and as the audience we are taken on an Tish’s emotional rollercoaster as the love of her life is unexpectedly ripped from her life.

I love how Director Barry Jenkins, chooses to cinematically set the story from Tish’s point of view. Even at her lowest moments, the dialogue of the film brings us back to a positive reality.  

When Tish becomes pregnant with Fonny’s child, there is a scene where her optimism seems to be dwindling away. Regina King, (Golden Globe winner for Best Supporting Actress) leans over and says to her “ Love is what brought you here. And if you trusted love this far, trust it all the way.”

In a Q & A with Director Barry Jenkins, he responds that the fundamental aspect of the story is Love. I’m guessing he is a pretty big romantic himself  (I mean obvi so am I). Tish and Fonny look at each other in a way that is indescribable (Basically the way I look at food when I’m really…really hungry).  In a world where the institutionalization of the black male is crippling America’s black youth, against all odds, Tish and Fonny remain the same. Even at prison visits, they refer to themselves as “Husband” and “Wife” even though they did not formally become married.

The film’s paradoxes are interesting. Although there is a decent amount of profanity, a hint of nudity, and grim look at an oppressive racial climate, it’s a powerful love story that is appealing to all audiences.


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