A young pregnant woman (KiKi Layne) fights to prove her beau (Stephan James) innocent of a crime he did not commit. If Beale Street could talk, it would no doubt inform Barry Jenkins that film is a director’s medium and suggest that he move his camera back ten feet so that audiences might enjoy the pleasure of watching his characters relate to each other in their environment, not sit and stare at cumulus-sized closeups of actor’s faces. When last I checked, people use their entire bodies to make love, not just their visages, but you couldn’t prove it by the way Jenkins films an intimate encounter. To paraphrase Groucho, if the camera was any closer it would be in back of them. The story (based on a novel by James Baldwin), Nicholas Britell’s score, and the ensemble cast are all strictly top shelf, which makes the overall dependence on one lens even all the more regrettable.
Length: 1 hour, 59 minutes