Chris Hormann’s review published on Letterboxd:
How to even describe this achingly beautiful film - I'm not sure I could do it justice. However I can say how much it spoke to me as a child growing up an outsider, never feeling like I could fit in. No I didn't have a crack-addicted mother or an absent father but that doesn't take away for the universality of the story and characters.
The cast is on point, to a man and woman - Naomie Harris is a particular standout as Chiron's mother - desperate to be the mother she knows he needs but also realising she can never be. Each of the actors who play Chiron at the various stages of his life bring nuance and subtlety to their portrayals, while building on what the previous actor brought to the role. So kudos too for young Alex Hibbert with the toughest job of laying the foundations for this fascinating character.
Barry Jenkins has crafted something special and with his cinematographer James Laxton, the images are painteded to perfection - like Wes Anderson meets Wong Kar-Wai (try selling that concept to a Hollywood movie producer), It also resembles, in its own way, a film I watched just last week, Brief Encounter, in which the unspoken says more than the dialogue - the looks, the brief touches and the unrequited love.
There's an image at the end of the Chiron section, when Ashton Sanders stands at the mirror having just plunged his face into a sink full of ice (following a beating). It's to me the epitome of the whole film and I would have been happy to just stare at that image for two hours. That tells me I just watched something very special.