Monday, January 21, 2019

Book and Movie Madness - If Beale Street Could Talk

It's Martin Luther King, Jr. - Monday holiday.  Frankly, anyone who is honoring this day should read James Baldwin's words or see the film If Beale Street Could Talk.

Written in 1974, it takes place in the late 1960s. Powerful words cover a time of trouble. The film directed by Barry Jenkins honors the book well with moving performances. Tish (Kiki Lane) and Fonny (Stephan James) are young, in love, and have known each other their whole lives. Now he's 21, she's 19, he's in jail for a rape crime he did not commit, and she's newly pregnant. Young lives turned upside down. Their families are working hard to help get Fonny out of jail. Tish's mother (played by the fabulous Regina King) even goes to Puerto Rico to talk to the victim to admit she lied about picking Fonny from a line-up that was rigged by a crooked beat cop.

You might be thinking 'yeah, yeah...what did he really do? Why did the cop have it in for him?'  The book and the movie both cover the racism, the difficulty for a black male at that time to not be harassed just because...

p.135  Levy said "Watch out for the cops."

One of the most terrible, most mysterious things about a life is that a warning can be heeded only in retrospect: too late

If Beale Street Could Talk is a love story. I loved this couple and Jenkins is a brilliant director. The movie takes its time, there are pauses in the dialogue, searching glances, and Tish and Fonny both have soulful eyes.  In reading the book and watching the movie, I did find myself wondering if times have changed all that much...and that's sad that my conclusion was - Not Enough.


  1. A very good review Joanne about what must be a wonderful but sad book to read. A day for reflection today in the US.


  2. I've never heard of this book/movie. Thanks for the recommendation. Looks like it could be a sobering and eye-opening read (or watch). Hope you are well, Joanne.

    1. All well. Visiting my dad in PA. Brrrr. Cold. But you folks had crazy snow. Stay warm

  3. This sounds like a moving book and movie. I agree that it seems that times haven't changed as much as they should.

  4. Those blank stares or pauses can get a bit annoying at times

  5. It's very sad that things haven't changed...or maybe we are just going backwards.