Given that his last film, Moonlight, won Best Picture at the Oscars, hopes are incredibly high for Barry Jenkins’ upcoming If Beale Street Could Talk. An adaptation of James Baldwin’s celebrated 1974 novel, the film will be one of the year’s big awards contenders when it debuts later this fall, following a world premiere at September’s Toronto International Film Festival. And on Thursday, the celebrated director himself unveiled the movie’s first trailer on Twitter.
The clip, while light on plot specifics is heavy on emotion and atmospheric style. The promo provides an evocative glimpse at the story of Clementine “Tish” Rivers (Kiki Layne) and Alonzo “Fonny” Hunt (Stephan James), a young couple in 1970s New York City whose affair leads first to engagement, and then to pregnancy. Their happily ever after is interrupted, however, by an accusation of rape leveled at Fonny by a local woman (Emily Rios), which soon lands Fonny in jail. That scenario is the basis for a complex story about justice, identity, and the relationships that make us who we are — one marked by both profound sorrow and inextinguishable optimism. Thus, it seems to be an ideal project for Jenkins, who appears to have dramatized it with the sort of swoon-worthy romanticism and potent despair that he also brought to Moonlight. There’s now no doubt it’ll be a critical and commercial force to be reckoned with later this year.
Co-starring Regina King, Teyonah Parris, Colman Domingo, Brian Tyree Henry, Ed Skrein, Diego Luna, Pedro Pascal and Dave Franco, If Beale Street Could Talk arrives in theaters on November 30.
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