What it's about:
Moonlight is a story of human self-discovery and connection. A Oscar contender that 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 neighbourhood.
What we thought of it:
Usually when I go watch a movie I look at the different aspects of it in isolation. I think about whether or not the characters and their journeys captured me and if the technical elements were all there from the cinematography and the sound to the overall editing.
Of course, that’s not possible for all films, because they are not meant to be picked apart and then looked at as a whole after dissection. Sometimes a movie just speaks to you and you love it and would watch it more than once.
For me I think Moonlight is the latter. Even though I could tell you in great length why it excels in technical ways like editing, music, acting and character development - within a script that is so uniquely well done it evades comparison – I don’t think that would do it justice. This cinematic masterpiece is seamless, so to reduce it to nuts and bolts like that doesn’t fit.
I think Moonlight is extraordinary because it showcases the different ways of coming of age (and the difficult stages of life that come afterwards) in a creative way. The protagonist named Chiron is played by three actors (Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes). Each actor plays Chiron in a different chapter of his life. In this way you don’t see every moment of Chiron’s life but the ones that shaped who he is at the end of the movie in a profound way.
Within this, powerful narrative that touches on various socio-economic factors, Chiron’s unwitting exploration of sexual identity, was my favourite part. Because it wasn’t clichéd and rushed like a storyline on Glee or some other network TV show but something else more organic. It felt closer to home.
The fact that everything works together so well in this movie means that the supporting cast like Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monáe and Naomie Harris are given the freedom on screen to create characters that I feel are iconic. I won’t reveal who or why Mahershala Ali and Janelle Monáe’s characters are so important but there is one scene with them that closes out the first chapter of the film that I loved and will stay with me for a while.
Naomie Harris, who plays opposite the trio of actors portraying Chiron, as his mother gives one of the strongest performances in the film. But that performance is only possible because she is given so much to work with in terms of script and great screen partners. There is a moment when her character has a confrontation with Ali’s character that is so explosive I found myself being that person who gasps out loud in the cinema.
Seeing this movie feels like something everyone should do. This is the film I think should win the Oscar for best picture with all due respect to musical on everyone’s lips. Go spend money on it at the cinema and support a film that a lot of studio executives didn’t want to make.