Writer: Barry Jenkins (Screenplay) Tarell Alvin McCraney (Story)
Starring: Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monae, Naomie Harris, Ashton Sanders, Jaden Piner, Jharrel Jerome, Andre Holland, Alex R Hibbert, Trevante Rhodes
Plot: A timeless story of human self-discovery and connection, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Powerful Drama
Story: Moonlight starts as Juan (Ali) a local drug dealer who sees Little (Hibbert) being bullied and offers him help with his girlfriend Teresa (Monae), Little real name is Chiron who lives with his abusive mother Paula (Harris) that does care about him but needs to satisfy her own drug habit.
We move onto meet Chiron (Sanders) in his teenage years still having problems at home and hanging out with Juan and Teresa to help him develop into the man he could be. At this stage of his life he still gets bullied but his friend Kevin still stands by his side and at this stage of his life Chiron starts to make discovers about himself.
The third chapter of Chiron’s life known as Black (Rhodes) shows him fully grown following in the footsteps of Juan but being his own man about it embracing his own sexuality.
Thoughts on Moonlight
Story – The story here is a braver story than what we are used to seeing movies portray the modern day black man from the streets, as we are used to seeing the gangs and bling. This film brings us a coming of age story about discovering who one boy is meant to be, not letting others hold him back. While I do think this story is brilliant I couldn’t help but have myself wondering about some of the characters through the other chapters, I also do think not everyone will enjoy this one.
Characters/Performances – The characters are all surrounding the central character of Chiron through his young life from boy to his own man, this character is written to be brave different and diverse to anything we have seen within this genre and environment before which is huge for this film. Paula the mother does have the story arc you have come to expect through films like this while other characters are people that come into his life at the right time. You can’t fault a single performance in this movie because everyone is brilliant in what is a true performance display from a cast that is relatively unknown.
Settings – The settings in the movie show just how rough the neighbourhood Chiron must grow up in which shows how easily he could be led astray from a path that will get him everything he wants from life.
Final Thoughts – This is a brilliant performance piece that would be considered essential viewing but isn’t going to be for everyone.
Overall: Special film that is written to top levels, performed to the best and most importantly taking on a subject we haven’t seen before.