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If Beale Street Could Talk

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This is Barry Jenkins' followup to Moonlight.  It has an excellent ensemble cast headed by Kiki Layne, Stephan James and Regina King.  It's the 70s in Harlem as the idealistic youngsters fall in love and then fate intervenes in a nasty way to throw off their plans.  Based on the Baldwin novel, this is an indictment of the criminal justice system as it screws with people of color and young people in particular.  Somewhat timely given the current talk of criminal justice reform that may or may not ever happen.  This isn't as groundbreaking as Moonlight, but it is worth your attention.  Aunjanue Ellis has a nice turn as a bitchy religious zealot.

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Aunjanue Ellis has a nice turn as a bitchy religious zealot.

 

That was my favorite scene in a film that I admired more than I liked. The acting, direction, production design, music - all great. But I did not find the story consistently engaging and spent most of the film in a state of apprehension, when I would rather have been in suspense.

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