Moonlight

Moonlight ★★★★★

"At some point, you gotta decide for yourself who you gon' be. Can't let nobody make that decision for you."

It isn't easy growing up black and gay in America, it never has been and it probably never will be. 
And neither is accepting the fact that coming to a full understanding of your sexuality can be one of the most strenuous and anxiety-ridden time periods imaginable, for people of ANY sexual orientation.
The reason I preface my thoughts with this is because I feel it's completely essential that I drive home the fact that Moonlight boasts what I think is, quite possibly, the most accurate depiction of coming to terms with sexuality in any film I have ever seen.
Right when the A24 logo flashed on the screen, and those opening trumpets in Boris Gardiner's Every Nigger is a Star started playing, a smile grew on my face and a fire sparked in my stomach. 
What everyone has already raved about, is a glorious story told in three chapters, following a protagonist played by three astonishingly-different, but equally breathtaking (aside from obvious standout Ashton Sanders) performances. But what's so fantastic about this setup, is the character progression and development on display throughout each of the three acts. In only 110 minutes, showcased is a boy growing from a misunderstood and neglected child, to a self-sustaining yet impressionable teen, finally blossoming into an emotionally distant and INCREDIBLY sexually-frustrated young man. But we also get to see a gut-wrenching depiction of parenting a drug-addled mother, living day-to-day oppressed and on your own and finding a mentor in the most unlikely of people, and how a single moment of sexual freedom can lead to years of confusion and utter shock if not accepted. And I'm only scratching the surface.
Stylized and shot by James Laxton in a way that's damn near similar to a Monet painting, the way he bobs a camera from a car door to the inside of a diner in a single steady shot is something we need more of in cinema. There's a lot about Barry Jenkins' direction in Moonlight that make it absolutely riveting, but I will let you experience the bulk of his surprises for yourself. 
All I can say right now, is that this is easily the best movie I've seen in 2016. And with the amount of times I cried, I can only imagine what future rewatches will do to me.
This is some of the most immaculate visual poetry you'll ever lay your eyes on.

5/5

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