If Beale Street Could Talk review – Barry Jenkins’ tragic romance soars

With his follow-up to best picture winner Moonlight, the writer-director brings James Baldwin’s 1974 novel to the screen with heartbreaking, visually audacious results

With his third film, the writer-director Barry Jenkins carries with him an impossible weight of expectation, the kind of which he was less burdened with when Moonlight premiered in 2016. Before then he had made an acclaimed yet small-scale 2008 drama called Medicine for Melancholy, and little did any of us know just how far his follow-up would go, from gaining enthused festival buzz to becoming a groundbreaking best picture Oscar winner. Two years later he returns with a wider, hungrier audience in tow and his decision to adapt a much-loved James Baldwin novel attaches an even greater level of anticipation along with unfair yet unavoidable pressure.

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