For his follow-up to surprise Best Picture winner Moonlight, Barry Jenkins is adapting James Baldwin’s heartbreaking classic novel If Beale Street Could Talk, and the film’s first trailer proves that they’re a perfect match.
Beale Street follows Clementine “Tish” Rivers (newcomer Kiki Layne), a young Black woman in 1970s Harlem whose mission to free her incarcerated boyfriend Alonzo “Fonny” Hunt (Stephan James), who has been falsely accused of rape, gets more urgent after she finds out that she’s pregnant. Also starring are recent surprise Emmy winner Regina King as Tish’s mother Sharon Rivers, along with Teyonah Harris, Brian Tyree Henry, Diego Luna and Dave Franco.
The new trailer foregrounds the strength of Tish and Fonny’s love, which endures despite all the systemic forces that conspire against them. Jenkins captures both the romance and struggle of their lives together and apart in 1970s New York in vivid color, with trademarks like Jenkins’ loving close-ups on his performers’ faces, rich nighttime cinematography and even one bathtub shot that may directly remind viewers of Moonlight. The trailer also teases some stirring music which may be part of the film’s score by composer Nicholas Britell, who picked up an Oscar for his work scoring Moonlight.
Last month, distributor Annapurna Pictures released a teaser for the film, the first English-language film adaptation of Baldwin’s work, in honor of the late author’s birthday, and it seems like Jenkins has done justice to the source material. If Beale Street Could Talk premiered to acclaim at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it was first runner-up for the festival’s top prize, and the footage we’ve seen so far from the film speaks for itself.
Annapurna will release If Beale Street Could Talk in theaters on Nov. 30.
Watch the trailer below.