“If Beale Street Could Talk” (Annapurna)
By Catholic News Service
Faithful, evocative and reverent adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel about a struggling young African-American couple (KiKi Layne and Stephan James), with many of the attendant weaknesses such careful film realizations can bring with them.
Much of the dialogue, scripted by director Barry Jenkins, is wooden and stilted, and it’s a bit of a slog to sit through. But the enduring love and strong family ties survive all manner of hardships, including James’ character being framed by a racist police officer (Ed Skrein) on a rape charge (the victim played by Emily Rios).
Two nonmarital sexual encounters, brief upper female nudity, momentary domestic abuse, a few racial slurs, fleeting rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.