Parents' Guide to

If Beale Street Could Talk

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Mature, beautifully acted drama from "Moonlight" director.

Movie R 2018 119 minutes
If Beale Street Could Talk Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 14+

If Beale Street Could Talk

This is another well made film from the same director of Moonlight, Barry Jenkins, thanks to the excellent acting and story. Contentwise, there is one use of the c-word, a few uses of the f-word, and two moderate sex scenes with some thrusting, as well as some scenes of breast nudity.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
1 person found this helpful.
age 17+

Touching love story is fatally hurt by pacing

Barry Jenkins' ambitious follow-up to "Moonlight" features another (doomed?) love story, this time with convict Fonny trying to prove his innocence with the help of his partner Tish. A dive into love, justice and race relations in the black NYC scene, Jenkins' writing is only assisted by another show of craftsmanship by James Laxton's cinematography and Nicholas Britell's gorgeous score. Told scatter-shot to fill in some holes on the story, and for a more dynamic watch, Oscar nominees Joi McMillon and Nat Sanders flounder with the editing scissors. On a second watch, I found "Moonlight" to be one of the better edited films of the 21st century: not an ounce of fat can be found in that movie's lean 111 minutes that isn't integral to its story. The same can't be said for "Beale St." Fonny and Tish are often shot just looking at each other, when it is very much established in the opening sequence how in love they are. The exception to this is Fonny and Daniel's conversation, where Brian Tyree Henry steals the show as a recently released, PTSD-stricken parolee. I wanted to love this movie so much after appreciating "Moonlight," but "Beale St." feels bloated by about 25 minutes, which could've either been filled with more compelling story or deleted entirely.

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6):
Kids say (1):

This beautifully acted, lovingly adapted drama about love, family, and (in)justice in America deserves a wide audience. King is especially wonderful as Tish's patient, wise mother, Sharon, who not only embraces and guides her daughter through an unexpected pregnancy but also travels all the way to Puerto Rico to track down the woman who falsely accused Fonny. But it's not just King who's outstanding -- all the performances in If Beale Street Could Talk are nuanced, from Layne's and James' central young couple to much smaller but evocative roles, like Ellis as the angry, judgmental, and religious Mrs. Hunt, Parris as Tish's take-charge sister, and the two different but bonding grandfathers-to-be, played by Domingo and Beach. The gifted cast is even graced by tiny but powerful performances from Dave Franco, Diego Luna, and Brian Tyree Henry as, respectively, a likable landlord and two of Fonny's friends.

Jenkins tells Tish and Fonny's story with frequent flashbacks, sharing everything from their earliest memories to all of their important firsts. Composer Nicholas Britell's evocative, jazzy score perfectly complements the drama and romance. The movie, like the novel, doesn't shy away from uncomfortable conversations and themes -- the scene in which Tish reveals her pregnancy to Fonny's family and one later, when it's clear that the incarcerated Fonny is losing help, are particularly gut-wrenching. But through it all, Fonny and Tish remain steadfastly surrounded by their love and the love of her family. Despite everything they must overcome, Fonny and Tish's love is real and enduring -- and a beautiful thing to behold.

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