If Beale Street Could Talk, a film all actors should watch if they want inspiration in their craft.
Recently I watched this beautiful film about a young African American couple, Tish and Fonny, who soon after falling pregnant out of wedlock, are forced to prove Fonny’s innocence after he’s accused of raping another woman, all while dealing with clashing family dynamics and values.
I want to give as honest a review as I can, because although some aspects of this film were incredible, beautiful and honest (the direction, the performances and the score) other parts were lacking and unsatisfying (the story/script, and character development).
I haven’t read the book this film was based on so I can’t compare, and therefore I’ll only focus on the film itself.
The characters in this story were all incredibly well established and they certainly felt like real human beings with real human challenges. The direction and performances by talented actors brought these characters to life on screen, which is why I would recommend every actor watch it.
Regina King won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress this year (2019) after playing the role of Tish’s mother, Sharon, and rightly so, her performance was flawless and heartbreaking.
I didn’t find fault with any performance in this film. Every actor played their role perfectly.
However, despite the characters being well grounded in the story, there wasn’t any character development. I mean, the main characters start out in the story without any real flaws. They’re already good people, and in the end they stayed good people.
After Tish fell pregnant her family accepted her from the beginning and when Fonny was accused of raping another woman, they immediately rushed to his side, knowing he would never do anything of the sort because of the kind of guy he is.
Fonny’s mother and sisters, who were more conservative were the only ones who struggled to deal with the fact their son had slept with his fiance before they were married, and the scene where this all played out was phenomenal, because of two value systems clashing, but this was the only time we saw these particular characters.
The only people in the story who actually needed to grow and learn to love and accept someone who sinned in their eyes never made a second appearance and so we never saw them grow.
The story ends with Fonny ending up in jail anyway, and Tish accepting her fate of raising a child as a single mother. The end scene was no doubt heart warming with all three family members sharing a ‘vending machine’ meal together in the visiting room of the prison, but it still felt like they had been defeated.
I would think this might be an acceptable ending if the story was about Tish learning to live without her baby’s father and accepting the help from her own family, but they were all in it together from the beginning.
Tish and Fonny were convinced their baby would be raised by both the mother and the father and so they spent the entire story fighting for their right to be a family, and failed anyway.
The story itself didn’t feel satisfying to me, it felt more like several beautifully acted scenes accompanied by a magical score, but without a solid conclusion.
I still don’t discredit everything we can learn from the love, respect and support one family can have for each other. I think this film can inspire anyone, but I don’t feel I saw a complete story.
Despite the social commentaries on racism, the importance of family and fighting for what’s right, I believe this film was made for actors, I believe every one of them deserve just as much recognition as Regina King because they, themselves were the heart of the story.