Moonlight – ☆☆☆☆
Director: Barry Jenkins
Writers: Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney (story)
Starring: Mahershala Ali, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes
Nominated for 8 Academy Awards
Summary: The life story of a boy growing up gay in a rough Miami neighbourhood and how he comes to terms with his place in the world as he grows older.
Moonlight is one of those rare occurrences in film where the film is actually a slow burner, but in the best way possible, because every scene in Moonlight was just so intense and filled with emotion that it felt as though each moment of this film was vital to the next.
Mahershala Ali’s character lights up each scene he appears in, and we’re already invested in this man’s relationship with young Chiron, the main character in this story, however it is a shame that we aren’t left to know what happens with Mahershala Ali’s character in the older scenes of Chiron, as he seems to have been forgotten and brushed off in one fell swoop of a scene through one line.
While the younger incarnation of Chiron speaks quite few words, it’s just enough for a truly powerful performance of this boy’s struggle growing up. The brilliance of this film is that it keeps you hooked to the character of Chiron, from his youth to adulthood. We’re following his own journey of self discovery, and how his character evolves during his years, that if either stage of his life was not to be shown I do not think this character would have been as impactful to an audience. The writers involved in Moonlight have so skilfully crafted each character so that it outlines so clearly which are made to be likeable and unlikeable, leaving more genius to focus on the execution of Chiron’s story.
Another stroke of ingenuity in Moonlight is the cinematography and lighting, making each scene a piece of art. Every frame beautifully crafted that if paused at any point it would appear aesthetically perfect. As well as it’s subtle use of music, to only apply it when its crucial, bring a whole other dimension of emotion to this film, truly showing sometimes less can be more.
The films ending can be met with mixed feelings, as one could argue that it’s open ended style suggests that though the film may be over, Chiron’s story isn’t, however in terms of continuity, there is always something simply satisfying about seeing everything tie together in the end.
Moonlight is simply artistic and carries a powerful story line with it, has certainly raised the bar for any other films who would wish to tell a life story like this.