Moonlight ★★★★★

Moonlight- 5/5

While a lot of cinema has showcased various forms of human struggles over the years, the very real struggle which a mediocre black child faces has hardly gained ever much attention as Barry Jenkins shows the heart-breaking life of this lonely, black child in "Moonlight" where he transitions with each chapter stunningly and leaves the audience devastating at the end of each, while also keeping a tinge of beauty and hope in all of them. With some powerful performances from the cast(with Ali and Harris shining out), this film packs a very hard-hitting punch at the audience and the stunning manner in which the struggles of this withdrawn boy's life is shown makes for heart-wrenching film which shows the reality of a black person's growing up amazingly well.

Moonlight shows the chapters in the life of Chiron(Alex Hibbert) who is a lonely kid who is found in a house by Juan(Mahershala Ali) who takes him to his house with his girlfriend Teresa(Janelle Monae) as they comfort the lonely, silent child. He is taken home where his mother Paula(Naomi Harris) takes him in as we discover that she's actually a drug addict. While Juan acts like a father figure to Chiron, he is told to back off by the abusive Paula whose strange acting irks Chiron. He goes to ask Juan about whether she does drugs and when he discovers so, walks away.

We now see the teenager Chiron(Ashton Sanders) who is often bullied in school but finds his only friend in Kevin(Jharrel Jerome), whom he also gets intimate with. Chiron often lives with Teresa when Paula is too high on drugs, as he is again bullied by the kids who tell Kevin to knockout Chiron and when he doesn't stay down, he really does knock him out. Now in a fit of rage, Chiron takes up his aggression on the main bully in Terrel(Patrick Decile) by hitting him with a chair, getting arrested afterwards.

We then go into the future where the grown-up man in Chiron(Trevante Rhodes) is now a drug-dealer himself with a completely new outlook, as he suddenly gets a call from Kevin(Andre Holland) to meet him if he can. Chiron goes to meet his mom in a rehab center where she pleads him to leave his dangerous line, as Chiron drives up to Kevin's eatery to meet him after years and make an effort to become the person he formerly was.

The portrayal of Chiron has been played superbly by all three actors, but Ashton Sanders is probably the one who really shines out as the bullied, lonely teenager who is going through a really delicate phase in his life and doesn't know what to do. His anguish and need for love at the time can be felt through Sanders' moving performance which also makes for arguably the best chapter in the film. Mahershala Ali was the symbol of love and hope in the film, as his character who is actually a drug dealer helps Chiron to believe on the good things in life when he's down as Ali's supportive, loving character makes for a really heart-warming act where he leaves his mark throughout the rest of the film and bags a really powerful punch in this excellent performance. Naomi Harris portrays the role of Chiron's drug-addict mother in an outstanding manner, as the way she enacts this druggie who is trying to love her child so amazingly that it makes you resent her as well as pity her. Harris' emotional act helps to input a lot of feelings on the part of the viewer as Harris's impeccable act of this drug-addict mother helps to show Chiron's anguish as well.

Barry Jenkins manages to show exactly how tough the life of a black person can be in his "Moonlight" where he keeps an intense atmosphere right from the beginning where he makes you feel for this weak, lonely kid whom everyone picks on. But the way in which he develops his character by showing his pain and makes for a upsetting couple of chapters in his life, you get more and more attached to his character and can really feel his difficulty as Jenkins does really well to get the audience moved by the character's story enough to be at his side throughout the film. While the film is purely heart-breaking most of the time, the way he shows how Jenkins pinpoints the precious little love in his life and the beauty of it makes you smile, as he manages to manipulate the audience's emotions really well in this film which goes onto show how brilliant of a story-teller he is. He's also massively helped by his cinematographer in James Laxton who shows the journey of Chiron amazingly, as his tracking shots and use of light in the film make for a lot of metaphors pouring around. The stunning background score from Nicolas Brirtell also helps to add to the haunting nature of the film which almost completely breaks you at times, but the instillation of hope helps both the character and audience stay afoot.

Barry Jenkins' "Moonlight" might as well be one of the more hard-hitting films to come out in a long time, as his depiction of the growing up of a introvert black child makes for a really distressing film which leaves you to bits throughout its course. But the way he's kept his character strong throughout the terrorizing ride makes for some form of hope in the end which shows that there's a light in the end of even the darkest of tunnels.