Sunday evening in Toronto was devoted to the premiere of Barry Jenkins‘ highly anticipated film, “If Beale Street Could Talk.”
Two years after his monumental Best Picture win with “Moonlight,” Jenkins returns for his sophomore effort.
“If Beale Street Could Talk” is based on the novel by James Baldwin. It tells the story of Tish (KiKi Layne) a young, pregnant woman whose fiance, Fonny (Stephan James), is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. The film also stars Regina King, Teyonah Parris, Bryan Tyree Henry, Finn Wittrock, Colman Domingo and more.
In addition to directing, Jenkins also adapted the screenplay. He won the Academy Award for Adapted Screenplay in 2016 with “Moonlight.” This is the director’s third feature film. His first, “Medicine for Melancholy” made the festival rounds in 2008. It had a small theatrical release in 2009. He has also directed several short films, and an episode of “Dear White People” for Netflix. He is currently in development with the series, “The Underground Railroad” for Amazon. That series does not have a premiere date, but is expected in 2019.
The film premiered at TIFF to a packed audience. Many of the early Twitter reactions are overwhelmingly positive, praising the love story at the heart of the film. Stephan James and Regina King seem to be getting the most attention for their performances from the Canada crowd.
Here are a few comments from writers fortunate enough to be in attendance:
— Candice Frederick (@ReelTalker) September 10, 2018
If Beale Street Could Talk. @BarryJenkins has a trifecta. His mastery of color and tones, and their interplay with emotion is unreal. Like the string laden score, he stirs you in waves, in refrains, each time hitting you harder & w more breath than the previous. Amazing! #TIFF18
— Robert Daniels @ #TIFF18 (@812filmreviews) September 10, 2018
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK is a Black love story. About the indomitable spirit of Black people. About the strength & enduring spirit of the Black Woman. About a world that will wipe all of that away if allowed
BARRY JENKINS gave us another beautiful picture of blackness #TIFF18
— Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) September 10, 2018
I feel blessed BARRY JENKINS was the director to bring JAMES BALDWIN to the screen!
Blessed y’all! There’s so much to praise but B4 we go further lemme say IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK is phenomenal!
More than a masterpiece it’s a work of art worthy of historical preservation.
— Jacqueline @ #TIFF18 (@THATJacqueline) September 10, 2018
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK: absolutely gorgeous! What a beautiful love story, and an unfair tale of injustice, lyrically told by the talented @BarryJenkins. The cinematography, the score, the performances… just remarkable #TIFF18 pic.twitter.com/DAO2tDFyop
— Alicia Malone (@aliciamalone) September 10, 2018
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK is a beautifully wrought and just plain beautiful film. After suffering through a few too many flavorless TIFF films lit like OZARK, what a balm to see something this lush in color, feeling, humor, and love.
— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) September 10, 2018