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If Beale Street Could Talk centers around, a young woman, Tish, (Kiki Layne) working to free her fiance Fonny, (Stephan James) who has been wrongfully accused of sexual assault, in the middle of the time when they are creating their relationship—finding a home, finding reasonable work, becoming each other’s bedrock support while Tish prepares to deliver their baby. One of the things director Barry Jenkins focuses on is the depiction of normal black life and how work is important in order to get to beauty.
In Beale Street we get everyday black life, black normalcy this thing that we never see in film. Jenkins knows like James Baldwin, the author of book which the film is adapted, knew, that is takes much carving, digging, and clawing down to get to the beauty, and to see that the normalcy and the day to day life lived of black people is beautiful. Jenkins gets there mostly with his cinematography, from Fonny and his friend Daniel (Bryan Tyree Henry) talking for hours, shot in tight shots, in which the film cuts up into two sequences, to Tish and her family getting into an argument with her assumed future mother and sister in laws about her capacity to her mother, after announcing her pregnancy, to Tish’s mother, Sharon (Regina King) displaying a mixture of uncertainty and certainty of her ability to triumph in an intimate moment in a hotel room in Puerto Rico when she is looking for Fonny’s accuser. You get this first hand look into black interpersonal life.
Jenkins colors Harlem with the cinematography of James Laxton to push forward the world of black folks, of blacks loving, and drops us into this site, firmly, and even after the movie is over you’re still breathing Harlem. Beale Street takes and expresses the characters feelings through Jenkins’ contemplation of his characters through close-up shots, the actor’s performance, the writing, and music. These elements show the deeper meaning and effect of what black people go through—the issues of black folks, but also the prestineness of and the love for being black.