If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) - Drama, Romance

Hohum Score



A young woman embraces her pregnancy while she and her family set out to prove her childhood friend and lover innocent of a crime he didn't commit.

IMDB: 7.2
Director: Barry Jenkins
Stars: KiKi Layne, Stephan James
Length: 119 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 89 out of 243 found boring (36.62%)

One-line Reviews (247)

On the whole, this is an enjoyable and quietly moving experience that tackles its heavy themes with the same elegance as it tackles its unconventional romance.

Based on the book by James Baldwin, it tells a riveting tale about love and life.

Nicely shot but thuddingly dull .

slow zzzz .

Whatever atmosphere it hoped to create or culture it hoped to depict was so terribly laden, slow, lumbering and freighted with belaboured didactic meaning, the good acting and decent production values just couldn't stand up to the weight.

Disconnected and slow.

The whole setting up of, and keeping Fonny in jail, felt overly contrived, not realistic.

Waste of 2 hours of life

The set and clothing design is stunning.

Perhaps it's his intense and slowly filmed close ups without dialogue or his incredible sense for telling a story through the colors he uses in cinematography, his films feel weighted with emotion, in a good way.

The chemistry between KiKi Layne and Stephan James is also really engaging and you quickly become invested in their romance because of how real it feels.

There's a dazed slowness to the narrative, as it lilts from moments of humour to those of beauty and gritty realism with ease.

Overall this is a good movie that is well made and is worth a watch if you are a fan of slower romantic films.

Slow paced and incomplete .

The style of the film is very nice to look at, the backdrop of the film fits the story very well, but the pacing of this film is really slow and where it works in some scenes it really doesn't in others and makes this film feel closer to 3 hours instead of 2.

There are only two scenes worth watching, one is the scene with the meeting between the parents, and the other street scene in Puerto Rico.

All the performances are stunning.

Overall though, the acting is generally outstanding and this, along with Jenkins' sublime direction and the stunning cinematography, makes it a recommendable picture despite the general lack of engagement and limited memorability.

Barry Jenkins, being the visual artist he is as a filmmaker, crafts a truly gorgeous vision of Harlem in the 1970s and puts together a stunning film that will captivate the audience throughout.

I was very bored, and rather irritated by the lame attempts to be artistic.

Long, Lifeless, and Boring Box Office Bomb .

I know i will dissappoint many of my followers on this review, , , but ''if beale street could talk'' filled me with such negative vibes that i will have trouble spelling them the right way.. its based on a novel and may that be the reason to why the director hasnt used his arrtistic fantasy better, because this was a terrible and boring story told on the widescreen from beginning to end.

Worst movie ever .

I saw this at the cinema, and so many people walked out that I lost count in the end.

The end is so predictable.

The story was slow and a little bit flat.

Blame for this must go to Jenkins, who is making a very personal, intimate film, but - unlike something like ROMA - the world that this personal pastiche is thrown into is not interesting enough to hold interest nor are the pictures rich enough to look at, they are mostly washed out and boring.

I'm glad I did, so I can warn you to stay away for IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK starts slow and then...

There is a really compelling incident at a local grocery store.

Astonishingly poor, soap-opera level acting from the entire cast; really poor storyline that could be summed up in 30 minutes; terribly drawn-out, boring dialogues; completely amateurish cinematography, pointless monologues all make me wonder what sort of lobbying pushed this film into multiple Oscar nominations and a win.

it would bore the hell out of you .

Director/Writer Barry Jenkins scored an unexpected Oscar upset a few years ago when his film MOONLIGHT won the Best Picture Oscar (besting LA LA LAND), so it was with much anticipation that his follow-up film was coming out, just in time for Oscar consideration this year - and the Oscar Buzz was loud.

Super slow, super dull, super disappointing.

Slightly slow moving at times but a unique picture worth watching!

That said, Barry Jenkins' tender, exquisite and superbly elegant direction, along with the massively amiable and endearing protagonists, makes me thoroughly engrossed and immersed in every single scene in no time.

Awful acting, no story, ending was abysmal and I was ever so disappointed with knowing that the executive producers are renound actors themselves.

great first and last third but the second third was a bit slow.

I was bored out of my mind watching this film, just nothing happened and the storyline was so thin there was just insufficient to sustain a movie.

Some scenes also feel kind of weird and there are parts where the film feels really repetitive.

A Breathtaking Look at a Love Story in 1970s Harlem .

There are long drawn out love scenes and scenes that show a minor detail, like Tish's mother deciding whether to wear a wig or not.

But like many people here have said, the plot felt dragged out for a film that could have had a runtime of 1h30.

(Worst, pointless, incomplete excuse for a film I've seen in ages.

The acting was compelling.

Had to try to watch this one three times as I fell asleep the first two times so if you're having trouble sleeping this movie could be the next great sleeping aid.

I would say this film is even more compelling than the last film by this director, Barry Jenkins, Moonlight, which came out in 2016.

A couple of faults - the non linear structure of the story is confusing at times.

If its first half is gripping family drama, resisting the obvious judgements of the society, the second half grows more head to head and this deep dive of characterization of his characters is where Jenkins steals the show.

The performances, which are often scrutinised in intense close-ups, bolster this.

The most compelling scenes of her turmoil are front-loaded, surrounding her reveal of the pregnancy to her and Fonny's family respectively.

Every few minutes there is the same annoying piano music where the filmmaker is trying to say there is some deeper, philosophical, transcendent, profound meaning going on, when actually it's just dull and pretentious story telling.

An elegant film, if rather repetitive at times .

Nineteen year old Tish Rivers narrates her tale informing the audience of her boyfriend's unexpected arrest.

I thought the plot was overly long, very slow, especially the character building scenes, the story could have told in 20 minutes.

A slow burner that never caught fire.

Too slow.

The only repetitive sequences are the prison meetings between the lovers, and this contrast allows the glass confessionals to transcend all the tropes usually encountered in this cinematic situation.

Over dramatic and tedious and not worth the time to watch.

Actually, I found the pace of storytelling to be very slow which made it feel really long and after spending all that time to build the story, the resolution was truncated, anticlimactic and confusing (I asked another theatre goer, as we were walking out, how he felt it ended and he had a whole different take than I did).

But oh wow, it was soooooo slow.

And the truth is, this is so freaking boring that I started thinking the movie was made in slow motion!

If Beale Street Could Talk - 'To bore a mocking bird' .

Except for a few moments of artistic lingering, which I thought were a little self-indulgent and unnecessary, the filmography and directing was captivating, making you feel like you were there too; almost voyeuristic at times, albeit tastefully done.

The dragged out moments will probably make this a film that will only appeal to a smaller audience so I think a shorter film may have made it easier to get the message across to more people.

There is too little feeling in this film, probably because of the disjointed approach of the director.

Visually stunning.

Representing the cold shoulder and slow moving justice system.

Stunning .

It was dull dull dull.

If Beale Street Could Talk plods along at a snail's pace and is something of an endurance test for the viewer - it calls for some drastic editing.

A large amount of the cinema was falling asleep including myself.

The on screen narration wants to bring the novel arrive but the non linear construction of the film makes it foggy at times and the pace languid.

While this was all happening I got bored.

Drama seeps in as a slow burn during key scenes such as a potentially falsely imprisoned father-to-be and family trying to prove his innocence, to the mother-to-be telling her boyfriend's family they are having a baby out of wedlock and simply trying to make ends meet in a world and time stacked against them.

) There are SO many better movies on the subject that are well worth watching.

4, the pace was slow bordering on stop, drama is the compression of reality over-conflict, it all evaporated here.

Slow & bad dialogues .

Moved very slow.

If Beale Street Could Talk, it would say nothing happened on my street so I'm going to shut up and go home.

The pace is extremely slow.

If you want to walk out of a film smiling and joyous, perhaps this is not the film for you.

Saying that, there are some excellent scenes that are very engaging and it definitely works in these moments.

Boring .

While slow at times, this film is a work of art.

The movie started off good, but as it got into the story line it became slow & annoying.

It is nuanced, engaging and powerful and she deserves the recognition she is getting.

Very slow paced.

Providing fine support are Colman Domingo, Teyonah Parris, Michael Beach, and in a riveting performance, Regina King as Tish's mother, Sharon Rivers.

I enjoyed it.

Slow slow and unmoving that I wanted to leave almost straight away

Another overrated boring movie, they made a 2 hours long movie with a story that can be told in less than an hour.

Starts slow...

The millionth film about black people suffering and being in a position of weakness, but this time with a lot of silence, looong pauses between words, and ridiculously slow scenes.

I found it slow, unfinished, and boring.

This is simply a well-written and well-acting film with an absorbing story to tell.

It's a shame, then, that it was lost in this achingly boring, repetitious and overlong dullfest.

It doesn't work as a movie despite strong acting because the plot is thin and Jenkins' decision to slow the pace to a crawl exacerbates the lack of plot.

First 20-30 minutes were OK, but later it became boring and tiresome to watch due to the slow pace.

This movie was slow (almost just as slow as moonlight was) and the dialogues were just terrible.

The ultimate final punch of hers which the movie was building towards, her compelling scene with Rios defines her excellence on performance.

The quote by Louis Armstrong's son early on does feel a bit pretentious too and I did not feel it was enough to explain the clumsy title.

On top of these basic flaws, the central characters are boring.

We have had many adaptations of great literature and only trash novels tends to work with their simplicity of the hook and 'what happens', while literature taps the currents of thought, in consciousness itself--not innately invisible to cinema but risks the film school exercise; audiences are insecure, and artists are pretentious, and they meet at literary adaptations getting trashed.

Worst waste of time since "The Domestics"...

Whereas MOONLIGHT felt more of a whole (despite the three part structure), BEALE STREET feels more disjointed.

Tedious .

Beautifully shot, but emotionally languid .

This movie was breathtaking.

As far as this movie is concerned, I would recommend skipping it altogether (although, I did fall asleep to it, twice :-)

Great visuals but slow boring dull story - trite and passe soap opera.

I find this "technique" of film making pretentious and distracting.

However, the script is repetitive and the characters do not develop complexity.

I think the only problem I had was there was a part that lasted for 10 minutes with two characters talking and it was kind of boring.

The slow pace bores me loads as well.

The film starts out winningly enough when the 2 sets of parents of our young lovers get together to discuss the unexpected coming of a grandchild into this world.

Several scenes were just excruciatingly slow.

"Beale Stree," in its slowness and pursuit of formal perfection, asks its audience to take a snooze.

Each scene dragged on relentlessly, to the point of frustration.

An intense, if bleak and slow-moving film set amongst the black community in early 60's New York.

Furthermore, the music score is VERY entertaining.

To be honest the constant stereotyping got boring...

My partner and I looked at each other at the same time we were so bored.

If there's a war for worst movie of the year it would definitely win.

The film is well-made and the cast is very engaging.

Too slow and trying to be too niche for my liking.

Yes it's slow .

Like other reviewers said so many scenes are way drawn out and not to mention over-dramatized and not in a good way more like in a "wth did they even just say" kinda way.

The racist injustice they faced, is infuriating and makes you want to yell in the face of all those pretentious white males.

Soooooo slow .

This was an odd film in that it had a good story and some brilliant scenes but sadly it was let down by some scenes that seemed pointless and some that dragged for far too long.

The score, though a little repetitive, captivates.

First of all, this movie was just incredibly pretentious, like you're watching the story of George Washington or something.

The narration, unexpected history lessons, and smooth time jumps all make for a hell of a journey.

It's like watching paint dry.


Very disappointed that so many entertaining and riveting scenes from the book were left out.

Rarely would get distracted whilst watching a film in the cinema but I lost focus so often and I'm certain it's due to how boring and long most of the dialogue and interactions were.


Like others, I went wanting to really like this movie but it was ponderous in the extreme.

The most boring movie I've ever seen.

The movie moves slow and captures the romantic moments beautifully.

This movie was so slow.

Sadly it suffers from the same problem as so many movies today - the writer also directs and the writer can't bear to lose any one of his brilliantly written scenes, resulting in an overly long and tedious film.

Ponderous in the extreme .

The cinematography and above everything, the music is perfect and makes it more intriguing, and keeps you into watching the film until the end.

I think it needed to be more gritty, hence more convincing and compelling.

All stunning moments that somehow get waylaid by the film's overt romanticism.

Some scenes can drag and come off as a bit too self-indulgent.

It is 10x longer than it needs to be, and even if you condensed it down to only the important bits, it would still be utterly pointless because NOTHING actually happens!

Boring .

annoyingly repetitive .

Every scene dragged on way longer than it had too and some of the scenes almost seem totally unnecessary and unneeded.

It's a slow brewing process that makes their final realisation all the more real and their catastrophic separation, due to a bogus rape charge, all the more heartbreaking.

This is a long, boring play...

But as to the story, other than the hint of a racist cop and how an innocent man was 'forced to take a plea' due to our system of justice (which by the way isn't limited to any particular race), amounting to all of about ten minutes worth of viewing and was just a quick 'recap', the film itself was a long, boring soap opera of a movie that had little to do with the black man's 'plight' in this country.

What was good:1, there appeared some good acting but it was set within such contrived settings it was difficult to be clear what was accidentally good and genuinely inspired.

It is this intense premarital marriage of skin that indirectly sets off a grievous series of events that will slam a glass divide between the two.

Its themes are quite compelling.

Overall, "If Beale Street Could Talk" is a good slow burning drama with all the core elements in a right places for a movie to succeed.

A Tedious Snoozefest - Give It A Miss .

Boring .

An effective cure for insomnia .


However, these scenes are numerous, meaning the film is slow to take off.

A proud and poetic film, even if slow at times .

it can't, because it fell asleep.

It was stupid, pointless.

Boring, pointless, drawn out .


Stunning .

.. this movie was downright BORING.

Slow, boring, long slow shots constantly just for the sake of it.

Slow moving and a tad boring.

Boring movie.

Overall though the movie felt over-engineered and a little pretentious, and that knocked it down a few pegs for me.

As beautiful as the subway scene, when they admire themselves in such a banal place.

The script feels like it should fill a maximum of 10 minutes but it's dragged out to nearly 2 hours.

Kiki Layne, playing Tish (who is stunning by the way), and Stephen James, playing Fonny, lead the cast with superb, believable, engaging performances, as you watch their love grow and strengthen.

Stunning .

It moves slower than snails.

Most of the time, extremely slow and late.

I just walked out of this movie and thats the first time ever.

Visually, Beale Street is stunning.

A confusing bore .

Boring .

Yawn .

After seeing all the trailers and tv spots for this movie i gave in and watched the movie with my friend and we agreed that the movie was boring and had no conclusion.

Boring, dull & just horrible....

A gripping drama full of love, jazz & what an adapted script should be .

What a waste of time.

This film has a heart wrenching story and magnificent performances but the artsy-fartsy direction too often took me out of what could have been a truly compelling drama.

The flashbacks are gracefully shot by James Laxton and eloquently scored by Nicholas Britell - but, so are the more mundane present day ones.

dont waste your time.

This is the arbitrary brutality and banality of American culture.

The slow pace is - I feel- a character in itself.

I will also raise the "p-word", that being "pretentious".

This movie was a waste of time and money.

The score throughout the film is beautiful (perhaps excusing one particularly eccentric violinist) and carry's the viewer through many mundane scenes.


Slow, slow, slow, pretentiously shot, pretentious music .

A stunning film and a must see!

There are a couple of lighter, humorous interjections like the early scene where Tish's protective older sister scaldingly scolds Fanny's holier-than-thou sisters and mother for blaming their boy's incarceration on Tish's corrupting ways or when Fonny mimes out for her their life in their future apartment, but these are counter-balanced by other, darker scenes like Tish's mother's ultimately unproductive meet-up with Fonny's accuser, Tish's regular visits to Fanny in prison and the long, slow scene where the couple consummate their relationship.

Waste of time .

KiKi Layne (in a stunning film debut) and Stephan James are totally convincing as the loving duo.

Many long and lingering looks, many drawn out scenes.

This is one of the most original movies I've ever seen, and it was entirely unpredictable.

The visuals are stunning and the color palette only ass to the story.

Waste of money and time .

its a love story of proportions, but how far and wide should it be stretched till it becomes dull and quite boring....

Kinda boring...

We ended up with just a soapily portrayed and slow-moving love story involving two unrealistically beatiful people.

The movie kind of dragged out at times as I was ready for the closing & just as Moonlight, it concluded with you asking questions.

While it's never badly written or boring, the pacing is generally slow and a lot of it has limited engagement with the audience.

Hopefully his next film is more entertaining and a story that has some more depth to it.

Same with the slow panning between characters and profound dialogue.

The most boring, long, and uneventful film I've ever seen .

In ways you are waiting for something to happen, there was only 1 scene which dragged a bit which was unnecessary and it was just waffling, in acting and direction, the audience should not be listening to pointless conversation.

There was no story told here.

Really wanted to love this move, but it's distractingly slow.

Probably the Worst Movie Ever Made .

There is a one-shot scene in the film where the actors are imagining that their house is full of great furniture, while it's empty and dusty and in it feels so lovely and makes a great point.

The other thing that ruined it for me was the pretentious violin music.

The potential of the movie was high but it turned out to be boring and not toching.

The central story is good enough, but the long, slow, lifeless scenes just pile up on each other.

A total waste of time and money .

Much like its predecessor, this movie is absolutely breathtaking...

The slow burn pace and confusing structure lets the film down.

Its slow paced and has nothing to keep you engaged in it, the charachter developement is lacking and the narrator who seems like she is reading it from script is actually annoying.

Sure it was perfectly cast and acted, but it was too slow and didn't really have anything exciting to offer except for a story that's been told before - only a little fancier and a lot longer and slower.

As with Moonlight, Beale Street is like a picture come to life with Jenkins bringing 1970's Harlem to life in a non-showy but engaging way, while the relationship between Tish and Alonzo is thoughtfully examined, including a number of hauntingly raw close ups and day to day occurrences that transcend to a higher level thanks to Jenkin's sensibilities.

I have not read James Baldwin's novel, but director Barry Jenkins' visually stunning film adaptation makes me want to do so.

If Beale Street Could Talk is an elegant but repetitive historical drama by Barry Jenkins, the filmmaker behind Moonlight, to which his new film is alas inferior.

Slow, dark, dull.

The score is also superb as well, managing to be both quietly rousing and emotionally stirring.

It's a technique that was used most famously (and effectively) in The Silence of the Lambs (1991), where each character looked directly into camera when speaking to Clarisse Starling (Jodie Foster), whereas she always looked just slightly off-camera, setting up a fascinating visual contrast which encourages us to identify with her.

The scenes were "incohesive" the word doesnt begin to describe the depths to which this movie takes you with its horrible pacing and disjointed scenes.

Moonlight is a spectacular film (a favourite of mine), and If Beale Street Could Talk echoes of its elegance and immersion, yet with a slower and gentler touch that blooms with true compassion for its characters and story.

Really really enjoyed it.

It's filmed well with a lovely era atmosphere, it's well acted, it's just just too slow.


and, if that isn't slow enough for you, kicks it down a couple of notches before finishing up on an even slower note.

I dont know if it is the slow edit, the constantly repeatted theme in the background that started to get on my nerve, or the voiceover.

I left the theater with so many unanswered questions about this film.

Cliché City .

Started out great, then dragged itself into a painful death.

Sorry, but I think you should skip Beale Street if you're looking for a film with engaging characters, good pacing, and a good story arc.

The only downside of it i think were scenes that were repetitive - literally - i do not need same scene to be shown multiple times for me to remember it.