Set in early-1970s Harlem, If Beale Street Could Talk is a timeless and moving love story of both a couple’s unbreakable bond and the African-American family’s empowering embrace, as told through the eyes of 19-year-old Tish Rivers (screen newcomer KiKi Layne). A daughter and wife-to-be, Tish vividly recalls the passion, respect and trust that have connected her and her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt, who goes by the nickname Fonny (Stephan James). Friends since childhood, the devoted couple dream of a future together but their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit. Through the unique intimacy and power of cinema, If Beale Street Could Talk honors the author’s prescient words and imagery, charting the emotional currents navigated in an unforgiving and racially biased world as the filmmaker poetically crosses time frames to show how love and humanity endure.
“Jenkins captures the humor, verve, and considerable complexity of the prose.” – Jason Bailey, THE PLAYLIST
“Weaving together the past and the present, masterful interpretations of Baldwin’s incredible prose, gorgeous visuals, and a sweeping score, If Beale Street Could Talk draws audiences into its overwhelming mix of emotions all at once.” – Sarah Kurchak, CONSEQUENCE OF SOUND
“The film is at its most potent in the scenes where human frailty and the specter of injustice come more elliptically to the surface.” – Keith Uhlich, SLANT MAGAZINE