I love movies. I love writing about them. Hope you like reading what I write.
If I were to describe this film, it would either sound like the most boring ever or the best thing ever. Please judge in this review which camp I fall into.
Moonlight is the story of an African American named Chiron. It covers his journey from a poor child to a troubled adolescent to a spiritually lost young man. That’s 20 years in less than 2 hours of screentime.
The title comes from the semi-autobiographical yet unproduced play by Tarell Alvin McCraney called In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue. It encapsulates the main theme of this piece so well, that being the connection between someone in a minority, the world and himself.
Not one speaking character in this film is not black. That may not seem so different, but I genuinely cannot think of any films I’ve seen where that’s the case. You become enveloped by a life you feel so distant from when outside the theatre. A movie should do that. It should rip you outside your world.
Writer-Director Barry Jenkins, in his second film, delivers something quite special. While maintaining some of the semi-documentary stylings of American Honey, he balances it with a discipline of an extremely cinematic level. In every scene, it feels like he wants you to experience something a little new.
As we follow Chiron we see not the most exciting moments from his life, but his moments of real change. We never see the actions we only see effects and causes and there lies the maturity.
I respect and admire Boyhood by Richard Linklater. Unfortunately, I don’t love it. I don’t get that deep, deep attachment I do with Chiron. Jenks challenges us with this quiet character.
Boyhood’s big filmmaking hook was the fact it had its cast for 12 years, which is impressive and it made a good movie, but Moonlight’s use of 3 different excellent lead actors is impressive in another way.
This film’s acting, writing and directing are all up for big awards and I think it truly deserves them.
I don’t even want to keep talking about this. This might be the best I’ve seen this year.
Recommended Scenario: If you want some meditative reflection on identity and connection.