Black Love in Cinema

Adapted from author James Baldwin’s novel, If Beale Street Could Talk has received buzz from fans and the academy. Director Barry Jenkins, who won an Oscar for his movie Moonlight, uses vibrant colors, varying camera angles, and stimulating sounds to tell the story.


The story focuses on a young black couple from the 1970s whose love is complicated by a false accusation. Both the novel and movie tackle social, political, and economic themes as they relate to the black community and communities outside of it. Without giving away details to those who have not seen the film or read the novel, a major theme is resistance in love.


While being honest about the complications of living and loving as a black person at the time, If Beale Street Could Talk displays pure love that audience members can recognize with or without dialogue. A key feature of this film is still/slowly moving stares into the camera. This connects the audience to the characters so that the love that the characters express seem more authentic.


This love is romantic, parental, and communal and the audience is connected to all these forms of love. This enhances the emotional impact of the obstacles that the characters face. The characters face many obstacles that seem like they should stunt the growth of their relationships, but those obstacles bring the characters together, making their relationships stronger. The characters show that they are willing to go to the ends of the Earth for the ones that they love.


That kind of love is admirable.


The film will be one to watch before the 91st Academy Awards Sunday, February 24th. If Beale Street Could Talk has received Academy Awards nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Regina King), Best Original Music Score (Nicholas Britell), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Barry Jenkins).