roby’s review published on Letterboxd:
Earlier tonight, I saw Mel Gibson's 'Hacksaw Ridge.' In a surprise move, I decided to go watch 'Moonlight' immediately after.
Going into Barry Jenkins' 'Moonlight' I felt the same way I did with 'La La Land.' I had heard so much praise and acclaim, that I, in a way, was nervous to see it. Not because I didn't want to experience the film, but because I didn't want it to disappoint. Seriously, this movie has been nominated for eight fucking Oscars. It had to be good. I would've looked so damn weird if I hated it.
Then I saw it.
Barry Jenkins somehow made this movie work. Coming from a theatre background, I totally understand how he did it. The (literal) three act structure is brilliantly used here. Beginning with "i. Little" and ending with "iii. Black" brought the film together in a cohesive, theatrical, sort of way. The use of music also harkened back to theatre, the weird orchestra score composed elegantly by Nicholas Britell, was an extremely nice touch, crafting an almost hypnotic display of sound and image.
It would be really, really hard to do a review of this without discussing Mahershala Ali. The dude is a beast. Ali is just so likeable, even when you're not really meant to, you know, like him. His character (Juan) is a perfect mentor, and foreshadows the main character's later life. Juan's scene with Little in the water is perhaps one of the most realistic and legitimate moments in cinema history.
Naomie Harris fucking kills it. She portrays this role with such force and realism that it left me speechless on more than one occasion. Harris fully deserves the Academy Award that she is up for, much like Ali. Her role in this will be discussed for many years to come.
Honestly, it is hard to discuss such a movie. 'Moonlight' leaves you with a touching impact that can only really be felt. My words won't give you that moment, if you want that, you need to see it.