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: 83 out of 225 found boring (36.88%)

One-line Reviews (229)

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

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.

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 set and clothing design is stunning.

Yawn .

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

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

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.

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

Yes it's slow .

A total waste of time and money .

It was stupid, pointless.

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

While this was all happening I got bored.

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.

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

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

Kinda boring...

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.

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

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).

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

An elegant film, if rather repetitive at times .

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

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.

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.

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

Furthermore, the music score is VERY entertaining.

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.

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.

It's like watching paint dry.

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

Waste of money and time .

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.

Visually stunning.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

The story was slow and a little bit flat.

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.

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

This movie was breathtaking.

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

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

Several scenes were just excruciatingly slow.

The score, though a little repetitive, captivates.

The slow pace bores me loads as well.

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

Too slow.

It moves slower than snails.

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.

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

Visually, Beale Street is stunning.

Beautifully shot, but emotionally languid .

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

This is a long, boring play...

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

Probably the Worst Movie Ever Made .

Worst movie ever .

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.

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

Really really enjoyed it.

This is the arbitrary brutality and banality of American culture.

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

Boring .

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.

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.

This movie was a waste of time and money.

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


Most of the time, extremely slow and late.

A confusing bore .

Stunning .

Boring movie.

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

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

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

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

Ponderous in the extreme .

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

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

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.

Stunning .

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

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


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

There was no story told here.

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

Nicely shot but thuddingly dull .

Boring boring boring boring boring boring boring boring boring boring boring boring boring

Same with the slow panning between characters and profound dialogue.

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.

All the performances are stunning.

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

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.

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.

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.

The acting was compelling.

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

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 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.

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


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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

Super slow, super dull, super disappointing.

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

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

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

A slow burner that never caught fire.

Soooooo slow .

Moved very slow.

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

.. this movie was downright BORING.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

Slow, dark, dull.

Waste of time .

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

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

Starts slow...

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

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

it would bore the hell out of you .

Slow & bad dialogues .

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.

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

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

dont waste your time.

It was dull dull dull.

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

This movie was so slow.

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.

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 enjoyed it.

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

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.

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

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

The end is so predictable.

The most boring movie I've ever seen.

An effective cure for insomnia .

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.

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

slow zzzz .

To be honest the constant stereotyping got boring...

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

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

Boring .

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


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.

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.

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

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

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

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

Slow moving and a tad boring.

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.

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.

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

annoyingly repetitive .

Boring, pointless, drawn out .

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


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

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

Slow paced and incomplete .

Very slow paced.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

The movie moves slow and captures the romantic moments beautifully.

Stunning .

Representing the cold shoulder and slow moving justice system.

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

Waste of 2 hours of life

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

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

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

But oh wow, it was soooooo slow.

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

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.

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.

it can't, because it fell asleep.

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.

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

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.

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

Cliché City .

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.

Long, Lifeless, and Boring Box Office Bomb .

Boring .

Many long and lingering looks, many drawn out scenes.

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

Its themes are quite compelling.

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.

Boring .

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

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.

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

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


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

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

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

Disconnected and slow.

A stunning film and a must see!

The pace is extremely slow.

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.

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

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

Boring, dull & just horrible....