Moonlight ★★★★½

Very happy that this lived up to all the hype I've been hearing since last year.

I think maybe the thing I loved most about this film is how it utilises colour to its advantage. It is consistently very colourful and often beautiful from a cinematography standpoint, which I wasn't expecting. There's a wonderful dreamy atmosphere through the use of an attractive, vibrant colour palette combined with purposeful direction.

I also really love how, as far as I know, this is a unique perspective to be exploring for a coming of age film. This is a genre that is pretty played out and has its own set of cliches, but Moonlight miraculously avoids the large majority of them. Aside from a couple of bullying scenes feeling familiar, this really feels exciting and new.

Thankfully the performances are also stellar across the board. Mahershala Ali's role in the first act is making waves for all the right reasons. It's a really genuine role that Ali knocks out of the park. You can totally feel the compassion his character feels towards the lead. As for the lead, the three actors that play him for each act are all pretty great. The little kid was fantastic, even beyond kid standards and Ashton Sanders' performance in the second act really drums up genuine pity. Finally Trevante Rhodes finishes things up with a wonderfully understated portrayal.

Preventing me from totally getting on board the non-stop praise train for this film however is the somewhat discordant structure it adopts for itself. Its three acts are very distinct, but they don't always run totally smoothly into one another. Particularly the transition from the second to third act was jarring and really took a little while to get warmed back into the plot.

Generally speaking though, I really enjoyed this film a whole lot. Mostly for its stylish presentation and unique point of interest for a plot to be built around. Barry Jenkins really has made something special here.

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