Tish Rivers is attempting to prove the innocence of her fiancé Alonzo ‘Fonny’ Hunt as he is in prison for a crime he did not commit, finding out she’s pregnant and having to deal with that with support from her family.
If Beale Street Could Talk is an emotional rollercoaster of a film and at times you will find yourself conflicted by feeling sheer happiness for the love story but then sorrow that they cannot be together properly anymore. Taking race into account when it came to the police officer, we are told the story in different orders which I thought worked out very well for the narrative of the film. With Tish explaining different events as it went on, Fonny was a good and nice guy. He was put in prison for rape, which he did not commit. Even though he physically could not have got from the place it happened back to his apartment, that did not matter to the police.
Tish has a very supportive family and that was very reassuring especially when she was so scared to tell them she was pregnant. That whole scene of first telling her mother and then breaking the news to her father and sister was so tense as you have no idea which way it is going to go. Then branching out for Fonny’s family to also be told the news.
The romance is put across in such a lovely way, how they have known one another for their whole lives and eventually fell in love. Nothing too crazy about it, feeling very well and then building up for first time they have sex. Again these scenes were done in a nice manner. It wasn’t too much and made it all nice to watch, not forgetting though the absolute trauma that we are then put through.
Sharon (Tish’s mother) is a force to be reckoned with as she attempts to prove Fonny’s innocence travelling to Puerto Rico tracking Victoria down. She had suddenly returned to her home country before the trial had taken place. Everything was rather strange around the case and this made it so frustrating and sad to watch. As a viewer it is hard to understand how the confusion is going on and that you cannot do anything about it. That is how engrossed I was into the film!
The score was haunting and so perfectly placed for each and every scene, it has been quite a while now since I have felt that way about music in a film.
The final scene is even more heartbreaking and the way it ends really helps to highlight that this treatment really has happening to people over the years. I felt angry afterwards and upset at the same time. That is how powerful the storytelling was with the very impressive performances. I can appreciate and understand the hype around Regina King, she really is a scene stealer! Stephan James was equally impressive but I felt KiKi Layne was a little bit weak in the leading role. I don’t want to sound harsh with that but I didn’t think she was strong enough in the role (I mean it could just be that was just the character, but whispering at times wasn’t ideal). Everything else around it was engaging enough and the heartbreaking manner in which people were treated.