if beale street could talk: movie review

this novel is fresh in my mind because i read it this year; my first time reading a james baldwin novel.  within the first 5 minutes of the film, i was already in tears. i was so glad i picked up a couple of napkins laid out on a table in front of the state theater at lincoln square. the silence, the loving stares, the beautiful colors beckoned me to freeze each frame just to linger a little longer. i can’t wait to take screenshots of every frame in order to adorn my laptop. i came in with preconceived theories about the direction and how the storytelling would be approached. for some reason, i didn’t think the narration style would translate well from the novel to the screen. barry jenkins made the right choice.  the acting was superb. they didn’t have to say anything. they could have gazed into each other’s eyes for 2 hours and it would have been time well spent.

there is a sex scene. well, it’s more like a lovemaking scene and it was tastefully done. the man sitting next to me chuckled when he heard me whisper ‘yes yes yes yes’ and ‘my god’ at the visual of dark-skinned beautiful skin expressing love. thank you, barry jenkins. i didn’t know how much i needed to see that on screen. i’m almost certain i’ve never seen a lovemaking scene with black people quite as honest, intense and tender. the only one i can think of that may come close is the sex scene in ‘love & basketball’. i can’t put into words how affirming it is to see dark-skinned people loving on each other.

even given all this beauty, i still left the theater a little angry. i wasn’t angry because i didn’t enjoy my time with this film; i enjoyed every minute. i was angry because it’s a guarantee there are countless stories similar to fonny and tish’s experience. this is not fiction. i think of all the untold stories of dreams halted, love put on hold, creations unable to see the light of day, with an ugly stain on a love story. somewhere in our history, someone with man-made power used it to snuff the life out of what was perceived to be less than, not human. it broke my heart to see fonny’s beautiful existence handled with no respect, beat down by the “justice” system working in the way it was created to work. the narrator’s sweet voice interjected like the constant interference of those in power reminding us why this young couple could not love in the way they deserved to love, with no boundaries. i may have one critique, but it’s not even worth mentioning. it’s a 5-star film receiving 3 golden globes nomination before its release date. take your love to see it. i took myself and i will be taking myself again. 

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Plots Fired

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Love & Basketball scene, tweet taken from tumblr. as you can see this is not my tweet.

Okay. I know the title is corny. I had to. I found the above tweet circulating on tumblr. This post happened as a result.

I still got mad love for Ms. Gina Prince-Bythewood, director/writer. She redeemed herself in my eyes with “Beyond the Lights”. I understand that Nate Parker is cancelled. So, I will spare you my critique. I understand that some of us are not able to compartmentalize certain personal issues with the artists from the art. However, if you are interested, I wrote a little review about “Beyond the Lights” a few years ago if you are interested.

 

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Gina Prince-Brythewood

‘Love & Basketball’ came out in the year 2000. And, so did “Disappearing Acts”.. we all know the disaster that was. 🤨 That movie had me looking at my crush, at the time, with the side eye, Wesley Snipes. I loved that man so much that I started dating (I say that loosely) a guy I thought looked just like him. In her defense, “Disappearing Acts” was based on a Terry McMillan novel. So, it really wasn’t her fault. Even within that story there were such tender intimate moments. Now, the cluster fuck that was “Love & Basketball”.. hated almost everything about it. I think I heard the characters of “Love & Basketball” were based on a real couple. Not sure how true that is. The movie made me feel so uncomfortable; squirming in my seat uncomfortable. The movie made us look at some issues concerning love we don’t like to look at intently. For that, I respect her so much. One of the things I didn’t hate was Meshell Ndegeocello’s song ‘You Made a Fool of Me” that played in the background during that last scene. Well, the song was indeed placed accurately. No?

 

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Shots Fired – Hour Eight: Rock Bottom (Stephan James, Sanaa Lathan)

I love Gina’s fearlessness as she displays some of the ugliness of our humanity in a beautiful authentic way. All of these stories need to be told. Yes, even the ugly ones. We need more willing brave artists to tell honest, raw, gutterbutt, lovely stories. I see you, Lena Waithe. She is also amazing.

 

Anyway, I forgave Gina. “Shots Fired” was a pleasant surprise. We cool now. You know what I love about her style.. she writes some of the most beautiful love scenes you will ever see; even in “Love & Basketball”. Writing/directing love scenes is a very difficult endeavor. She does it so well. Check out the love scene in “Shots Fired” if you are into that kind of thing. It was steamy HOT, real intimacy. People tend to turn their noses up at romantic stories/storylines. It takes as much skill to execute a love scene as it does a fight scene; just a skill of another kind. I was also here for that cute young tender, Mack Wilds, loving on that dark skin sista who played his wife. Loved it! Just read somewhere that Gina helped write the screenplay for “Nappily Ever After”. I will be there. Lastly, don’t forget to check out “The Secret Life of Bees”.  Good stuff. Overall, Gina can tell a story that will move you. That is a promise. Like they say, “you get what you bring”.

“she’s gotta have it” short & sweet review

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so, I really wanted to like “she’s gotta have it” on Netflix. but, I should have known I wouldn’t like it because I hated the movie. the corniness of spike lee’s satire and his over the top approach concerning serious topics has always rubbed me the wrong way. all the men are totally ridiculous. they all gave me gay vibes and it was so distracting watching them do ‘i love pussy’ gymnastics trying to be convincing. greer? mars? mars, my G?? come on now. who would even believe that craziness?! not I! the writing was painful. the acting? look, Dewanda Wise is frikkin’ awesome to me and she is absolutely stunning. she did the best she could with the material she was given. i made it to episode 3.

in conclusion: I hated it!

1 star out of 5

Beyond The Lights

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I feel so inspired after seeing this movie. The creative juices are flowing. Last night after watching this film, I felt so energized. Gina and I are back on speaking terms now..lol I really didn’t like how she had my girl Sanaa Lathan begging at the end of the other movie she created “Love & Basketball”. Had my girl over there sweating and stressing for love. This film makes up for it ALL. Yep, we on a first name basis now. Personally, I’ve never had a problem with predictable story lines, because it’s all about how it’s executed. This one has many surprises..beautiful surprises. It’s so intimate. There are so many layers. Witness the beautiful paradigm shift for both of these characters, Noni and Kaz. Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker are so electrifying. Bless yourself and go see this one. Go see it for me, because I want more love stories on the big screen with POC.