“‘Beale Street’ and Time”

I can’t say I’ve seen a lot of writing on Barry Jenkins‘ If Beale Street Could Talk that reaches back to the Baldwin text. That’s not to say it isn’t there, just that I haven’t seen a lot of it, and maybe that I expected more writing like that to be more ubiquitous. Likely this is just a blind spot for me. I knew, as soon as I saw the movie for the first time, that I wanted to go to the text. What I didn’t know is how much the text’s mentions of time as a kind of existential enemy would apply to every other movie Jenkins has made.

There’s a great statement echoing in his work about black American experiences being compressed under the heel of time. That statement feels most explicit in If Beale Street Could Talk, most oblique in Moonlight, and really least essential to Medicine for Melancholy, but no matter what film you’re watching, it’s there. I’m also probably not the person to get deeper into that great statement, but movies let us see into experiences that aren’t our own, so, hey, I felt like trying.

You can read the full piece over at Film School Rejects.




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