If Beale Street Could Talk
Directed by Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
Starring KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King
Release Date: November 30, 2018
One sentence synopsis: A woman in Harlem desperately scrambles to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime while carrying their first child. (From IMDB)
Why: It’s Barry freaking Jenkins of Moonlight adapting a novel by James freaking Baldwin. I was first introduced to James Baldwin when my mom encouraged me to read The Fire Next Time and I guess you could say he is one of my awakeners, along with Maya Angelou, Nina Simone, and Zora Neale Hurston.
Directed by Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)
Starring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, and Cynthia Erivo
Release Date: November 16, 2018
One sentence synopsis: Four women left with debt from their dead husbands’ criminal activities join forces and conspire to forge a future on their own terms. (from IMDB)
Why: Heck yeah. It stars Viola Davis and I see her in just about anything. I even saw that terrible Suicide Squad movie because she was in it. Also, four women joining forces to kick ass after being left with the mess their men made? I’m all about it.
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)
Starring Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira (I don’t know who these actors are, but that doesn’t matter. I’m expanding my horizons, you see.)
Release Date: December 14, 2018
One sentence synopsis: Chronicles a year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s. (from IMDB)
Why. After seeing Gravity, I had this overwhelming feeling of being glad to be alive. Plus, Cuarón directed my favorite Harry Potter movie, The Prisoner of Azkaban, so capturing the angst of adolescence and the singular magic of that age and that book that it actually hurt inside to watch it. Plus, I am on this learning about Latin Americans kick, because even though I live in New Mexico I pretty much don’t know what I don’t know, and I have lead characters in my WIPs that are Latinx.
Directed by Peter Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary)
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali
Release Date: November 21, 2018.
One sentence synopsis: A reverse Driving Miss Daisy. A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South. (from IMDB)
Why: Um, Aragorn, for one. And Mahershala Ali is everything. Everything. Plus, I love a road trip movie, an opposites buddy movie, and anything having to do with the 60’s era Civil Rights era. I heard about this on the Code Switch podcast and got all a-tizzied. “If I’m not black enough, and I’m not white enough, then who am I?” A feeling I have dealt with all my life, and I’m old enough now to finally know and understand I’m not the only one.
The Hate U Give
Directed by George Tillman Jr. (Soul Food)
Starring Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby
Release Date: October 19, 2018
One sentence synopsis: Based on best-selling YA novel by Angie Thomas. A teenage girl witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend at the hands of a police officer, and finds her voice to stand up for what’s right. (from IMDB)
Why: Chills up and down my arms every time I hear about it. I’m reading the book now and I WILL finish it before the movie comes out. I will, I will.
Here are some fun related articles:
The Code Switch podcast via NPR:
James Baldwin Kept a List of His Dream Cast for a Beale Street Movie – via Vulture:
How Tupac Shakur shaped ‘The Hate U Give’ and its teen star Algee Smith – via The Virginian-Pilot:
What diverse movies are you the most excited to see?