Writer & Director / Barry Jenkins (MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY)
Stars / Alex R. Hibbert, Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monáe, Naomie Harris, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes
In the darkness of MOONLIGHT, comes the story of a boy searching for light early into his life. If there is just one piece of awareness that young Chiron already possesses (Hibbert), it is knowing that he is somehow different to others that surround him. Preferring to avoid acts of violence being committed all around, Chiron is also learning that different doesn’t make it in these rough hoods. Perhaps Juan (Ali, from TV Series “House of Cards”), a stranger that crosses paths with Chiron, could be that light leading to a brighter future.
You’ve previously seen movies set in these types of less fortunate and socially-neglected crime-laden areas. But until you see MOONLIGHT, you have never seen a story transpire in these “neck of the hoods”, quite like the one involving Chiron. Told in three separate stages of Chiron’s life and based on an unproduced play titled “In Moonlight, Black Boys Look Blue” by Tarell Alvin McCraney, there is strong word-of-mouth currently in circulation for this picture, which has just been nominated for eight Academy Awards.
You can immediately discern that MOONLIGHT is a film close to the heart of the filmmakers, with both the playwright and writer/director having grown up in the same Miami neighbourhood that most of this drama is shot. A deep connection to its characters is evident.
One of this Golden Globe Best Picture Winner’s greatest strengths is the insight afforded to the world Chiron is raised in. MOONLIGHT makes it as clear as day to fathom how the environment a person is living influences every thought and action, and how hopelessness and desperation can present a life of violence and crime as a solution, as an escape and even as hope.
The storytelling and character depiction really are outstanding, especially throughout the opening act. The next two chapters to follow, depicting Chiron’s life as a young adolescent (Sanders) and then as a young adult (Rhodes) further develop events established in the opening act. Part of MOONLIGHT’S conclusion did leave me unsure of how to feel. Its screenplay will steer some cinemagoers in a direction that won’t always be comfortable viewing, yet the value to be gained from watching this film renders it a very worthy one to see.
Viewer Discretion / M (Drug Use, Coarse Language, Sex and Violence)
Trailer / MOONLIGHT
Moviedoc thanks Village Roadshow and Village Cinemas Jam Factory Gold Class for the screening invite to this film.
Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc