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If Beale Street Could Talk

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).

Watch out for: Two nonmarital sexual encounters, brief upper female nudity, momentary domestic abuse, a few racial slurs, fleeting rough language.

Rated: A-III, adults; MPAA: R

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019