Review Round Up: If Beale Street Could Talk

Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for Barry Jenkins’s  film based on James Baldwin’s novel.  

The Observer: ***** “The result is another mesmerising and wholly immersive experience from a film-maker whose love of the medium of cinema – and fierce compassion for Baldwin’s finely drawn characters – shines through every frame.”

The Guardian: **** “Here is a film almost woozy with its own beauty and dignity, a film going transcendently high in the face of a racist world going low.”

Empire Online: ***** ” The overwhelming feeling is one of love, both the romantic kind that can endure great hardship and the familial kind that supports and protects its own. The great tragedy of the film is that love is not enough to protect us entirely against the world’s cruelty, and that such ordeals could even be inflicted in the first place.”

The Telegraph: ***** “If proof were needed that Barry Jenkins’s directing achievement was far from a one-off, it pulses and dances through every sequence of his follow-up, If Beale Street Could Talk, in all its gorgeous romantic melancholy and sublimated outrage.” **** “This isn’t a happy film but it isn’t a hopeless one, either. The most striking thing that you’ll take with you is that Baldwin’s novel was written 44 years ago, but it’s just as timely now. Not much has changed for people of color, which probably wouldn’t surprise the author.”

Variety: ” if “Beale Street” is to be a universal expression of the African-American legacy, as Baldwin intended, then Jenkins wants to show that love and family are the key to his community’s survival.”

The Independent: ***** “Beale Street may seem a little arch at times, but it is also magical filmmaking which looks for, and finds, beauty in the most unlikely places.”

Irish Times: ***** “The film-makers are assisted by a source novel that makes its presence felt in swathes of mellifluous voice-over. Jenkins perhaps overdoes the reverence for Baldwin’s text. No viewer entering without foreknowledge would be left in any doubt that they were watching an adaptation.”

GQ: “Beale Street is the kind of ensemble piece we’ve been lacking of recent: a love story that also gives the entire Rivers family time to spread out and explore the issues at the centre of the piece.”

Den of Geek: ***** “Poignant and bittersweet as it is, it’s still suffused with hope and optimism, even in the face of everything that Tish and Fonny are facing. Although the story puts them through the wringer, their unbreakable bond supports both the characters and the film itself.”

Culture Whisper: ***** “It’s hard to believe that this is KiKi Layne’s first major role, as her chemistry with Stephan James is effortless. There are no concessions in the way she offers her words, and she holds a gaze like it’s the heaviest, most important object in the world.”

Radio Times: ***** “The acting and staging, especially during the big, noisy family showdown, are impeccable. Jenkins takes the same risks he took with the three unknown actors playing Chiron in Moonlight with the casting of Layne and James. Their shared sexual awakening is charged by a raw passion and anxious chivalry in a suitably grotty basement where Fonny creates modern art out of rough hunks of wood – another apparent reason not to lock up this artistic soul.”

The Upcoming:***** “If Beale Street Could Talk is a beautiful exhibition of compassion, heart and nuance of hope. Invest in this film, and it will invest in you.” **** “If Beale Street Could Talk proves that love is a revolutionary act, especially when told through the eyes of perhaps the most overlooked and maligned segment of America’s population: African-American women.”

NME: ***** “If Beale Street Could Talk refuses to be dented. Through extreme darkness it always keeps proud hope alight. It’s romantic in several sense of the word. It’s a very easy movie to love.”

If Beale Street Could Talk is released in cinemas on the 15th February.

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