If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)

Rating: 7/10

Tish Rivers (Kiki Layne) is about to have a baby. Unfortunately, the father, Fonny (Stephan James) has been framed for a crime he didn’t commit by a corrupt justice system. This story follows this small family as they try to make it when all of life seems to be working against them.

This emotional drama is told in a non-linear way. It’s interesting watching the movie like this and it follows the story rather than following things chronologically. It made this story just a bit more interesting to watch it in this way jumping around Tish’s life rather than just going through the film from beginning to end like it’s “supposed” to. The acting was also pretty darn good all around. Kiki Layne especially stands out and really brings her all to bringing Tish Rivers to life.

The story is a decent one and has a lot to say about the inherent corruption in our legal system, specifically targeting African-Americans. It shows how one family has to cope with a wrongful imprisonment, which is unfortunately a common occurrence here in America where cops are more willing to jump to conclusions rather than do any actual police work. But as most movies I’ve watched lately have shown, our government is as corrupt as they come. This film examines that corruption from an everyday perspective rather than examining how it came to pass like Vice does.

Many scenes went on for too long. Oftentimes the film would make a point but then continue to make the same point in the scene far longer than was necessary. Also there were many unnecessary scenes as well. Rule number 1 of movie making is do your absolute best to keep everything interesting or at least important to the plot. Don’t meander on anything ever. And if you do, at least meander in a way that’s interesting.


+7.5: A pretty good emotional drama

+1: Great acting

+0.5: Interesting non-linear style

-2: Too many unnecessary scenes or ones that could have been obviously edited down

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