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If Beale Street Could Talk | 2018 | R | – 6.4.5

Why is “If Beale Street Could Talk” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “language and some sexual content.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes male and female nudity, a couple of explicit sex scenes, a mention of a brutal sexual assault, a couple of skirmishes, incidents and discussions of racism, inequality and inequity in the justice system, and at least 10 F-words. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.”


content-ratingsBased on the James Baldwin book: In 1970s Harlem a woman (KiKi Layne) finds herself trying to negotiate the legal system when her fiancé (Stephan James) is arrested for a crime he did not commit. To make things more complicated, she is also expecting their child. Also with Regina King, Colman Domingo, Teyonah Parris, Michael Beach, Aunjanue Ellis, Ebony Obsidian, Dominique Thorne, Diego Luna, Finn Wittrock, Ed Skrein and Emily Rios. Directed by Barry Jenkins. A few lines of dialogue are spoken in Spanish without translation. [Running Time: 1:59]

If Beale Street Could Talk SEX/NUDITY 6

 – A man and a woman kiss passionately, the woman sits on a bed in an apartment and the man removes her sweater; she takes of her top and bra and he takes off his shirt and pants (we see her bare breasts and abdomen and his bare chest, abdomen and briefs), they continue to kiss and he thrusts on top of her (we hear moaning and they climax). A man and woman have sex and we see him thrusting (his bare back is visible and her bare shoulder is shown) and they moan.
 A man and a woman kiss tenderly in a few scenes. A man and a woman kiss passionately in a few scenes. A man and a woman walk holding hands in a few scenes. A husband and his wife embrace and dance moving their hips to music and their grown daughters make remarks from another room. Two couples dance in a restaurant.
 A woman accuses another woman of sexual immorality, having committed lustful actions and unacceptable passion. A woman tells her fiancé that she is pregnant (he is in prison). A woman tells her family that she is pregnant by her fiancé who is in prison. A man talks about a landlord thinking a woman was propositioning him and that he suddenly refused to rent to them when the woman’s fiancé joined her to see the apartment. A woman describes working at a perfume counter in a department store and how different people react to her and how they smell perfumes (on her wrist, on their own wrist, etc.). A woman talks about knowing when her baby was conceived.
 A boy and a girl (maybe 7 and 4 years old) are shown in a bathtub together and they are both wearing tank T-shirts. A woman wears a full slip that reveals cleavage. A woman delivers her baby at home (presumably) in a bathtub and we see the baby’s bare buttocks and back and a glimpse of genitals while the woman lies in the tub with her bare shoulders visible.


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If Beale Street Could Talk VIOLENCE/GORE 4

 - A husband hits his wife hard across the face and she falls to the floor (we do not see blood but we hear that she has a bad heart and she seems weak). A man makes unwelcome advances to a woman in a store and she walks away from him until her fiancé enters, grabs the man and shoves him in a pile of garbage on the street; a police officer comes and grills the man and woman and reaches to take the man to the police station until another woman intervenes. A woman touches a crucifix that a woman wears around her neck and the second woman screams for her to not touch her and calls for help; she is led away by two other women.
 A woman files sexual assault charges and identifies a man from a police lineup. A woman threatens another woman about tearing out her Adam's apple with her fingers or her teeth. A man yells and pounds on a wall in frustration. A man throws a bag of fresh tomatoes against a wall splattering red juice and tomato flesh on the wall.
 A woman tells her fiancé's family that she is pregnant (he is in prison); the mother becomes angry and makes hateful comments about God causing the child to wither in her womb because they are not married. A woman talks about faith and piety and about her son needing to think on his sins and surrender his soul to Jesus. A wife accuses her husband of being "full of hate." A husband and his wife talk dismissively to each other and they become more hateful as the conversation goes on. A man talks about having spent 2 years in jail and having been accused of stealing a car, as well as marijuana possession. A man says, "The white man has got to be the devil," because of the things he saw and the way he was treated in prison. A woman tells another woman, "You pay for the lies that you tell."
 Two men are shown stealing clothing and selling it. A man and woman talk through glass divider in a prison visitation room in several scenes; they touch hands to the glass in a few scenes. A voice over describes how African-American children had been told they weren't "worth [scatological term deleted]". A man talks about sleeping in the park sometimes when he didn't want to go home. A man talks about people being more willing to rent to a leper than an African-American person. A man says that people in this country really hate African-Americans.
 We see photographs of African-American men being held handcuffed and on their knees while facing a wall as a police officer stands behind them, an African-American man being pressed against a police car and handcuffed, and a dead man on a street. We see photographs of men working hard labor and wearing prison uniforms.
 A man is shown with a cut on his nose and lip presumably from a fight in prison. A pregnant woman gags and coughs in a bathroom off-screen. A pregnant woman has contractions in a few scenes and she flinches dropping a telephone receiver, tipping over a coffee pot, dropping a raw egg on the floor, etc.


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If Beale Street Could Talk LANGUAGE 5

 - About 10 F-words, 4 sexual references, 24 scatological terms, 4 anatomical terms, 9 mild obscenities, 4 derogatory terms for African-Americans, name-calling (bad girl, white boy, stupid, weird, liar, hippie, chick, malicious, rapist, boy, holy roller, funky [derogatory term for African-Americans deleted], weak head), 5 religious exclamations (Lord, Jesus, Lord Knows, God Knows, Holy [mild obscenity deleted] Ghost). | profanity glossary |


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If Beale Street Could Talk SUBSTANCE USE

 - A man talks about having been arrested for marijuana possession. A man pours glasses of brandy for a toast and he and three women drink, several men and women drink brandy, several people in a bar drink alcohol and smoke in a bar, a woman orders a gin and tonic (we do not see her drink), two men drink bottles of beer in an apartment, people drink and smoke in a club, and a woman drinks wine in a restaurant. A man holds a lit cigarette in his hand, two men smoke cigarettes in an apartment, a woman and a man smoke in a restaurant, and a man smokes at home.


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If Beale Street Could Talk DISCUSSION TOPICS

 - Criminal justice system, wrongful conviction, racism, fear, love, family, faith, life choices, parenting, grand parenting, pregnancy out of wedlock, shame, friendship, sexual assault, plea deals, dreams, sweatshops, money, respect, victims.

If Beale Street Could Talk MESSAGE

 - The American system of justice is not equally just for all.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.



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