It only takes one film to change your life. For filmmaker Barry Jenkins, Moonlight took him from struggling to get a movie off the ground to winning Best Picture. Now, he’s an auteur who can pretty much set anything up that he desires. For his follow up to that Oscar winning flick, he’s chosen to adapt the James Baldwin novel If Beale Street Could Talk. Late last week, a Trailer dropped that suggests Jenkins will firmly be in the awards race again (the Trailer also hit on Baldwin’s birthday, just as an FYI). You’ll be able to see it at the end of this piece, but first…let us discuss just how far Jenkins can go with his latest work.
The movie is an adaptation of Baldwin’s novel of the same name. IMDb has a small plot summary that says the following: “A woman in Harlem desperately scrambles to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime while carrying their first child.” Over at indieWire, they have slightly more to say: “Baldwin’s novel follows Tish, a newly engaged Harlem woman who races against the clock to prove her lover’s innocence while carrying their first born child. It’s a celebration of love told through the story of a young couple, their families, and their lives.” Tish (KiKi Layne) is our protagonist, so it will likely be through her eyes that the story is told. Jenkins adapts the Baldwin novel and directs, with the ensemble cast also including Colman Domingo, Dave Franco, Brian Tyree Henry, Stephan James, Regina King, Diego Luna, Teyonah Parris, Pedro Pascal, Ed Skrein, and Finn Wittrock, among others. Behind the scenes, Jenkins reunites much of his Moonlight crew, including cinematographer James Laxton, composer Nicholas Britell, and the editing duo of Joi McMillon and Nat Sanders.
First off, this Trailer looks gorgeous. If Beale Street Could Talk has the makings of a big Academy Award player (more on that in a minute), but if nothing else, the cinematography on display is first rate. Jenkins and Laxton can frame a shot in such a beautiful way. Throw in the inherent power and timeliness of the story, and well…this seems to really have the goods. No longer a surprise, Jenkins will be a known quantity to voters this time around. That shouldn’t hurt him any, but his flick won’t be the little engine that could. He’ll be right up there with all of the other prestige players.
Oscar could come calling again for Jenkins with this one. Annapurna Pictures will surely have an across the board campaign for this one. Look for Best Picture, Best Director (for Jenkins), Best Actor (for James, if he doesn’t go Supporting), Best Actress (for Layne), Best Supporting Actor (for James, if he doesn’t go Lead), Best Supporting Actress (for King), Best Adapted Screenplay (also for Jenkins), Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score to be in play. If others from the cast distinguish themselves, look for even more possibilities there. We’ll know in a month or so how it is when it makes its film festival debuts, but the potential is there for another force to be reckoned with.
You can enjoy the First Trailer for If Beale Street Could Talk in all of its glory momentarily. With a November 30th release date (after a September debut at the Toronto International Film Festival), this seems sure to be one of the fall/winter’s biggest independent releases. At worst, this is a classy indie to eagerly anticipate. At best…it’s going to be a huge Academy juggernaut. We won’t know for sure until the end of November, and beyond, but for now, we have this Trailer. Sit tight for further updates on it once the festival season gets underway. Until then, take a gander at the Trailer and excite yourself for the possibilities…
Here now, with no further delay, is the Trailer for If Beale Street Could Talk:
Stay tuned for more on If Beale Street Could Talk in the coming weeks and months!