2019 Film Reviews - 13: If Beale Street Could Talk [dir. Barry Jenkins; 2018]

I wasn’t at all surprised by the title that Sight & Sound magazine chose for their feature article on this movie: In The Groove For Love. Barry Jenkins’ follow-up to Moonlight blends emotionally-charged music with pointedly retro aesthetics and a careful (sometimes slow-motion) pace to such woozy effect, it’s impossible not to be reminded of In The Mood For Love. And - as is the case with Wong Kar-Wai’s film - you can’t help but wonder precisely what all the beauty presented on the screen amounts to. But it would be downright churlish to assert that this adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel about a young woman trying to clear her boyfriend of a rape charge isn’t deserving of praise. With more than its fair share of exquisitely observed and performed set pieces - a lovemaking scene is a particular standout - it furthers Jenkins’ reputation as a humane stylist and will no doubt linger in my mind as one of the more memorable cinematic releases of the year.



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