?The First Reviews For ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ Are In (Starring Toronto’s Stephan James)

Barry Jenkins' 'Moonlight' follow-up is tender story about lovers torn apart


Ever since Barry Jenkins (eventually) won the ‘Best Picture’ Oscar in 2017 fans and critics have been eagerly awaiting how he would follow up Moonlight.

A love story set in 1970s Harlem, his next project If Beale Street Could Talk is adapted from a James Baldwin novel of the same name. In the film Trish (Kiki Layne) fights to free her husband (Stephan James) who is falsely accused of rape and imprisoned ahead of the birth of their child.

Jenkins in fact adapted the novel on the same 2013 trip to Europe in which he adapted the script for Moonlight from Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play. Five years after penning the script in Berlin, the film had its world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival this weekend as one of their Special Presentations.

Reviews have praised Jenkins’ response to the pressure of following up winning ‘Best Picture’ as an outsider, noting the film builds on the skills he showcased in MoonlightREAD MORE

‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ Review: Another Cinematic Wonder from Barry Jenkins [TIFF]

Moonlight director Barry Jenkins returns with If Beale Street Could Talk, an adaptation of the novel by James Baldwin. Romantic and tragic, Beale Street is gorgeous and emotionally stirring – the type of movie that only comes along every so often.

“Love brought you here. If you trusted love this far, don’t panic now. Trust it all the way…” Those words come midway through If Beale Street Could Talk, the latest stunning work from Moonlight director Barry Jenkins. They’re delivered by Sharon Rivers (Regina King), addressing her 19-year-old daughter Tish (Kiki Layne) just when things seem at their most hopeless. READ MORE

If Beale Street Could Talk review – Barry Jenkins’ tragic romance soars

With his third film, the writer-director Barry Jenkins carries with him an impossible weight of expectation, the kind of which he was less burdened with when Moonlight premiered in 2016. Before then he had made an acclaimed yet small-scale 2008 drama called Medicine for Melancholy, and little did any of us know just how far his follow-up would go, from gaining enthused festival buzz to becoming a groundbreaking best picture Oscar winner. Two years later he returns with a wider, hungrier audience in tow and his decision to adapt a much-loved James Baldwin novel attaches an even greater level of anticipation along with unfair yet unavoidable pressure. READ MORE