Sunday, November 13, 2016


Movie Name: Moonlight
Year of Release: 2016
Director: Barry Jenkins
Stars: Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Alex R. Hibbert, Janelle Monae, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes, Jharrel Jerome, Andre Holland, Patrick Decile
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
View Trailer Here

Barry Jenkins' "Moonlight" follows his debut from 2008, the little seen "Medicine for Melancholy". The film tracks the story of Chiron, a young black man in Florida. The film is divided in three different chapters, and chronicles episodes of the life of that young man, first as child, secondly as a teenager and finally as an adult. In chapter one we witness Chiron being persecuted and bullied by his classmates. He's taken under the wing of the charismatic Juan, who alongside his wife Teresa take interest in his quiet demeanor, particularly when they realize his mother is a drug addict. The second chapter introduces us to teenager Chiron, who continues to be quiet and abused, while his mother's addiction has worsened. During this time he also discovers who he is sexually when he has a brief tryst with a colleague. The third chapter introduces us to Chiron as an adult, where he's become a version of Juan, selling drugs, and he's toughened up. A call from his friend Kevin sends him back on a journey to revisit his past and possibly make sense of his present.
"Moonlight" has been met with great reviews - much like Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" critical reception and storyline, we witness the growth of a young man through time (played by different actors in this case).  The problem with this film, much like Richard Linklater's is the fact that in trying to compress such an extended scope of events and experiences into a normal feature, actually removes a lot of dynamics and actual character development that is needed to make these characters feel more than just sketches. "Moonlight" in particular, feels more poignant and touching during its first chapter, when Chiron as a child is discovering the world around him, and we accompany him in that journey, particular with Juan as his protector. Sadly Juan's character, much like Chiron's mother, are not given much screen time to fully understand who they are. Chiron's journey is definitely an interesting one, and the film is beautifully shot and acted, even when the supporting characters aren't as fully realized. An interesting film worth watching.