It’s hard to know where to begin, every shot in this film aches with such sincerity and affection that by about the twenty minute mark I was already a puddle of tears in an oversized hoody. Sure, I’m a sucker for tragic romance, seeing struggling people pull together to face adversity. The leads of If Beale Street Could Talk are family; their problems are largely private and, while beset by problems from the outside world, they find strength in their unity. Barry Jenkins chooses to centre so much of his movie around acts of care, prioritising the depiction of tenderness in a world that can oft be so cruel.
Most of the time I’ve spent ‘writing’ this review has actually been spent researching James Baldwin. Reading extracts from his essays, novels, plays; watching him appear on the talk shows that the film extracts from; that famous 1965 Cambridge debate with William F. Buckley Jr. to whom the film rightly does not give a voice.… Continue reading I Am Not Your Negro: A tonic for the blind