I’ll admit to not reading the book that this is based on. The best part of the movie is that it makes me really want to read the book. The second best part of this movie is Regina King’s performance. How she has gone this long into her career without an Oscar is beyond me so I am beyond elated that she is nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
I’m a huge fan of slow moving films, especially when the payoff at the end is good. The House of the Devil is a prime example of this. Beale Street was a bit of a let down for me because there isn’t a big payoff at the end. Spoiler alert – the man falsely accused of rape takes a plea deal and stays in prison on a reduced sentence. This wouldn’t have bothered me if I hadn’t just sat through two hours of people sitting at tables talking during every scene.
The acting is amazing and the camera work is beautiful. However the film needed some action to break up the monotony. A twenty minute scene between the two protagonists and their friend takes place during the time when the rape took place, essential becoming the falsely accused characters alibi, just ends without the arrest that happened right after. Another overly long scene shows the two families talking about an unplanned pregnancy and how to deal with it now that the father is in jail for a crime he didn’t commit.
While, I’m not a fan of the pacing of this film, it is an honest, scary, and sad portrayal of what it is like being African American in America. I do enjoyAgain, the book is now on my must read list. I hope Barry Jenkins, director of Beale Street and Moonlight, continues his brand of film. His creative voice adds a lot to the conversation.