If Beale Street Could Talk

Featured In Issue 238, April 2019

WSR Score4.5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
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Language and some sexual content
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Color With B/W Sequences
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Barry Jenkins
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DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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"If Beale Street Could Talk" is a love story set in early 1970s Harlem. Newly engaged 19-year-old Tish (Layne) and her fiancé Fonny (James) have a beautiful future ahead. But their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit. Now the pair and their families must fight for justice in the name of love and the promise of the American dream. (Gary Reber0

Special features include commentary by Director Barry Jenkins, the featurette "If Beale Street Could Talk: Poetry In Motion (HD 27:35), nine deleted scenes with optional Jenkins commentary (HD 22:17), a gallery, the theatrical trailer, and a Movies Anywhere digital code.

The 2.00:1 1080p AVC picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, upconverted to 2160p with greater resolution and luminance, was photographed digitally in SuperScope using the Arri Alexa 65 camera system (6.8K) and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. The picture is overshadowed with a fine veil of digital noise, perhaps to create a filmic look. The color palette is nicely saturated with rich and warm hues. Contrast is excellent with deep black levels, good shadow delineation and natural highlights. Resolution is superb with fine detail exhibited throughout. Facial features are nicely resolved with respect to skin pores and lines, hair and beards, and clothing. Texturally, the imagery is excellent. This is a very warm and naturally vibrant picture that is sure to please. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is very nuanced with strong surround envelopment. Foley sound effects play a convincing role in creating reality. Early on there is a love scene in Fonny's pad with rain pounding on the roof, walls, and windows with realistic envelopment and a good sense of overhead origin. Atmospherics are effectively positioned in the surrounds and are directionalized. Strong sound effects are infrequent, but when they do occur, bass energy effectively engages to 25 Hz and lower for very short durations. The music score uses the surrounds effectively to create a holosonic® soundfield presence. The jazz music pieces extend aggressively to the surrounds. Also, during the prison segments, prisoners' distant voices in groups and various prison door slam sounds are enveloping. Dynamics are excellent, as well as fidelity. Dialogue is intelligible throughout, with good spatial integration, and Tish's narration images out front with an enveloping presence. This is a creative soundtrack that perfectly complements the beautiful picture. (Gary Reber)