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.
Joanne Faries, originally from the Philadelphia area, lives in Texas with her husband Ray. She considers herself fortunate to be able to pursue a writing career after eons in the business world. Joanne enjoys reading and movies, and is the film critic for the Little Paper of San Saba.