Thomasina in Tom Stoppard's mind bending time warping play, ARCADIA, observes that when you stir rasberry jam into vanilla pudding it will first swirl in streaks but ultimately will turn the entire pudding pink. If you stir the pudding in the opposite direction, the jam will not separate back out again.
--LIFE MOVES ONLY FORWARD--NEVER BACK!--
Thursday, March 14, 2019
My take on If Beale Street Could Talk
If Beale Street Could Talk, (a film by director Barry Jenkins,
who also directed Moonlight).
The film was nominated
for three Oscars and Regina King did win best supporting actress for her
portrayal of Tish’s mother. The movie, based on a novel by James Baldwin,
definitely takes viewers on two different paths depending on their racial
background. For many African-Americans a belief in the endemic racism of our
criminal justice system overrides all. The young lovers Fonny and Tish, like
Romeo and Juliet, are doomed and no efforts to stop the tragedy will be
successful. As a white male I still
empathized with the lover’s plight, but did find that I was asking a few more
questions about why certain things could not be altered in spite of the racial
divide and why some continuity gaps seemed so bothersome. Both groups (and most
critics) agree that the film features excellent acting, interesting
cinematography, and a compelling musical score. But I am still in the camp that
would like to know why certain issues were left unresolved.
For instance, what
happened to Fonny’s friend?Did the
alibi he was to provide stand up or did he renege under pressure from the DA? I
am still wondering why Tish’s mother and not the lawyer was dispatched to
Puerto Rico to talk to the rape accuser. As one reviewer noted that scene
simply pitted two aggrieved women against each other in a conflict that neither
one could win. Tish appears to be living at home during her pregnancy, then all
of a sudden she is back at the love nest to have a water birth in the scummy
tub. Not sure I can explain that continuity jump. The fathers resort to
thievery to help raise money for the lawyer raising the old question of does one
wrong justify further wrongs. This may
just emphasize the difference between Baldwin and Martin Luther King. In the
last scene Fonny and Tish’s son seems at least five or six and Fonny is clearly
still in jail. Did he plead?Was he
tried and convicted?Was he still
waiting to go to trial?
In spite of my minor reservations,
the film admirably portrays the broken relationship
between the justice system in America and the African American community. It certainly
resonates as much today as it did when Baldwin wrote the novel. I give it four stars out of five.