Oscar nominated drama If Beale Street Could Talk screened in advance for Cineworld Unlimited members last night, and their reactions are in.
Moonlight director Barry Jenkins marshals a poetic, romantic, yet hard-hitting adaptation of James Baldwin's 1974 novel. Stephan James and KiKi Layne play Fonny and Tish, a young, black Harlem couple who are about to welcome their first child into the world. However, they are beset by racial prejudice and injustice, and when Fonny is sent to prison on a false charge of rape, Tish must rush to secure his release before the baby is born.
So what did Unlimited members make of it? Jordan Gallagher lauds the veracity and authenticity of the performances.
Simon Tuck says Jenkins even manages to top his earlier Oscar-winning classic.
Wow. KIKI outstanding. This thought through storyline maximising each scene was breath taking. Even the flashbacks had depth. Bringing family together and exploring friendships, relationships and love. This film tops Moonlight. Expect detail, a great soundtack and weird mum inlaw— Simon Tuck (@simon_tuck) January 29, 2019
AusterityGamer also raves about Jenkins's sense of visual beauty and use of music from composer Nicholas Britell, who also composed the score for Moonlight.
@BarryJenkins sure knows how to compose a beautiful image with beautiful people in glorious close-up. And, as with @moonlightmov, his musical choices are brave, unexpected and heartbreaking. Terrific performances and faithful to the source material. Nice work!— Austerity Gamer (@AusterityGamer) January 29, 2019
Katie says lead actors James and Lane bring emotional power to the movie.
I thought it was a very moving drama and told a powerful story. I found the performances of the lead actors, KiKi Layne and Stephan James, to be very impressive.— Katie (@katieisafilmfan) January 28, 2019
Corinna has watched the film for the second time and believes it should be up for more Oscars than it already is. (It's been nominated for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score and Best Supporting Actress for Regina King.)
@cineworld watched If Beale Street Could Talk for the second time after seeing it last year at the London Film Festival and I’m reminded of how beautiful it is. The performances are also amazing and it should’ve got more Oscar nominations. #CineworldUnlimited— Corinna (@corinnaosei) January 28, 2019
On the other hand, the film's length and intentionally deliberate pacing presented an issue for some viewers, including Anita. (She does however reserve praise for the acting and soundtrack.)
Sorry @cineworld but this wasn’t my favourite film...the weird echoed narrative was off-putting, it felt like too much had been edited out, and it was a little slow in places...great acting though and I loved the soundtrack 5/10 xx #BealeStreet #CineworldUnlimited #review— Anita Eivazmohammadi (@princessneetz) January 28, 2019
And Capricious admits she struggled with the film's approach.
Really slow and didn’t go anywhere? I struggled through this one. It was just a lot of soft staring and confused narration— Capricious (@crazymissmyers) January 28, 2019
That caps off a sensational month of Unlimited screenings, so stay tuned for more details of more previews arriving in the not-too-distant future.
Given 2019 is officially the year of film, if you're not yet part of the Unlimited club, there's never been a better time to sign up. Click here to join Cineworld Unlimited.