A story of courage and love, “If Beale Street Could Talk,” adapted from a novel of the same name by James Baldwin, documents the relationship between Alonzo “Fonny” Hunt and Clementine “Tish” Rivers (beautifully portrayed by Stephan James and KiKi Layne, respectively).
After having spent most of their childhood falling in love, the two black, young adults are beginning the journey of starting their lives together in 1970s New York. Portrayed in a non-linear collage of emotional experiences, the film is a deep reflection into the two lover’s devotion to each other and the beauty of true love.
Of course, this film is not merely a glimpse into a young couple’s intimate relationship. It is also a poignant and timely illustration of the ravages of a broken social system and a family’s limitless pursuit for justice.
After Fonny is wrongfully charged for a violent crime, Tish and her family are emboldened to fight for his release. Throughout the film, we see how the difficulties of being black in a biased society make this difficult situation almost impossible to overcome.
As each character battles with their faith throughout the film, they soon realize that the only way to keep fighting for justice is to never lose hope.
When multiple setbacks result in the destruction of everything they had wished for, it is that same hope that keeps them together.
In its truest form, the film delivers a touching story of race, love, tragedy and courage at a time in American history where the struggle of being black was illustrated at every moment.
And the film is delivered now, at a time when this struggle is as important as ever.