Moonlight ★★★★★

98

To categorize Barry Jenkins' Moonlight is to attempt an examination of sensory pleasures and indescribable shapes, tones, feelings, aches. It is a film structured into three acts, but its narrative clarity never dominates the conversation, instead floating downstream with the tumbling, tranquil force of empathy casting its radiance within the images. Right from the opening scene, we as viewers see light as a painting, brushed against the screen with such tenderness for subject, environment, spacing. James Laxton and Jenkins make for one hell of a DP/Director combo, succeeding in molding their story to begin and end with gestures, sights, and sounds oozing and playing off of three incredible actors embodying a single spirit. Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes may be three different individuals rising to the accord of one soul, but their movements are harmonious, floating along the lulling rhythms of Jenkins' revealing tracking shots and his romantically vivid eye for flourish. And ignoring the supporting cast should be a crime punishable by law, so delicate in their roles of connection, love, and guidance for Chiron that each conversation feels organic rather than mandated, which is practically a miracle considering the rigidity of its structure. For a film propelled by its big moments, those beckoned across by time and fluttering, fuming, fiery in the depths of the heart, it's the details - a home with hot food, a hand encased in sand, frames and frames of electric waves, a void of a walkway leading towards the sea, a song on the jukebox - which elevate Moonlight into the realm of cinema's upper echelon. There's no 'hype train' necessary for Jenkins' film. It simply exists as a wonderful, sensitive, humane glow. Go and bask in its warmth.

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