Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight Follow Up, If Beale Street Could Talk, Drops Beautiful Trailer

It's been just under two years since director Barry Jenkins' acclaimed drama Moonlight was released. While the incredibly poignant Best Picture winner still lingers heavily on movie fans' minds, it will soon be time to see Jenkins next work, If Beale Street Could Talk. The new film based on the 1974 James Baldwin novel of the same name is coming to theaters this November, just in time for awards season. If Beale Street Could Talk tells a compelling story of young couple Fonny and Tish who fall in love on the streets of Harlem in the 70's. They're soon torn apart when Fonny is falsely accused of raping a woman and imprisoned. When Tish finds out she is pregnant, her family and lawyer work to find the evidence to prove Fonny is innocent before their baby is born. Check out this emotional first trailer, but don't be surprised if Jenkins' pristine cinematic shots give you chills.

The trailer opens with Tish hesitantly trying to speak with her mother, played by the remarkable Regina King. Warm introductions to the characters and a distinct setting follow, as Fonny and Tish take romantic strolls down streets and smile at one another. The cuts are alluring to the eye, while vaguely introducing the film's plot. A soundbite from author James Baldwin plays in the background, as the teaser grows more intense with each cut. Roaring arguments between Tish and her family intensify the trailer, and the uneasy sounds of subway rails screech as Fonny (Stephan James) runs to the entrance, calling out. Audiences will be quickly invested in the relationship between Fonny and Tish, as they power through the miserable circumstances they are faced with in the film.

Cinephiles may remember Stephan James in the Jesse Owens biopic Race, or his role in Selma. If Beale Street Could Talk will mark the film debut of KiKi Layne, who also plays Tish. The cast's performances look incredible, and could possibly follow up the award-winning performances in Moonlight.

James Baldwin's narration in the trailer is especially memorable as it focuses on the struggle to find "your role in this country, and what your future is in it." Baldwin was the subject of the recent documentary I Am Not Your Negro, an account of civil right activists and his close friends Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Medgar Evers. The author's works have focused heavily on the black experience and race relations in America, and If Beale Street Could Talk won't be an exception. In the novel, Fonny gets sent to jail due to a racist policeman's accusations, which is briefly introduced in a short close-up shot in the trailer.

The upcoming film will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September, and come to theaters on November 30th.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.