Moonlight ★★★★

Short Review

Added to: 2016 Ranked
Added to: People being People-list
Added to: .n F.lm
Added to: A24 Ranked
Crossing this one of off my Hype-a-de-Hype List

A tough but true story told with utmost sincerity, Moonlight tells the life of Chiron, a young African-american man who we see in three different periods of his life. Firstly as a young boy, then as a teenager and eventually as a grown man.

Through this very specific life director Barry Jenkins takes on the theme of man's sexual orientation and the way this collides in the world around him. Because, not only does our main character struggle with this still greatly unappreciated sexual preference, his surroundings do too. His mother, while doing her best to love him, suffers from a severe drug-adiction and a grave misunderstanding of her son's problems. He hardly has any close friends and often gets bullied, both physically and mentally. Yet, throughout the harsh experiences he gets, he grows as a human being, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worst...

What undeniably is the best part of the whole of Moonlight is the acting. Telling a story at three very different time periods asks for three different actors and Jenkins struck ultimate gold with the trio of Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes. Not only do they look a lot alike but somehow their movements and characteristics flow seamlessly from one actor to the other. Especially the young Hibbert deserves praise for not waisting his childlike innocence within this role by focusing on those things that actually make him a child, even in these harsh circumstances. But next to them, the many supporting roles also have their gravity. Here, Naomi Harris and Mahershala Ali throw the biggest eyes, creating extremely powerful performances of truly extravagant but still highly humane characters.

Nonetheless the story does feel rather tame at times. Sure, it has some gripping and gut wrenching scenes, but overall it never goes for great climaxes or heavy hits. It is the overall power of the totality of the film that makes Moonlight such an engaging watch. This also comes back in its look as it has a weirdly toned down color scheme that also has the tendency to feel like some sort of daylight neon light hitting you in the face with it's "ugliness". Yes, this "ugly" look actually helps the film and perfectly accentuates the equally harsh story. Yet, besides this, there can also be found true moments of visual beauty accompanying the more hopeful moments in Chiron's life. The film even turns a bit Malick-y at some points, creating beautiful impressionistic tapestries in a never ending search for happiness in life.

Although it may not be the masterpiece that some people have proclaimed it to be, but it is undoubtedly a work with a long lasting impression and a truly modern message that couldn't be more thought provoking these days...

Block or Report

𝕎𝕚𝕝𝕝𝕖𝕞 (𝕃𝕖𝕠) liked these reviews