If Beale Street Could Talk ★★★★

A surprisingly conservative film, in many respects. It's about the American Dream at bottom, but specifically about how that dream got (and still gets) derailed for black Americans. It almost feels too... warm for a James Baldwin adaptation, but I like to think that he would still appreciate it.

The word that overwhelmingly comes to mind is *generous*. Generous towards young love -- love as pure as in any fairy tale, and just as vulnerable to dragons. Generous towards all the idiosyncratic details of black urban life in the 20th century. Generous towards the beauty of black bodies (especially male bodies; Jenkins understands the female gaze, I think). Generous towards character, an inclination the film showcases by pairing the members of the ensemble off at various points and giving them revealing scenes together. Generous towards color and light, and the way that happy memories get burnished and treasured.

It didn't punch me in my romantic heart of hearts the way 'Moonlight' did, but how many films do?

Production design Oscar goes to the set decorator for Fonny's basement apartment -- or whoever thought up the clawfoot bathtub that makeshift converts to a dining room table.