Moonlight

"Excellent"

Moonlight Review


This independent American drama has been generating headlines and earning awards for its inventive approach to a big topic. It's such a warmly involving film that it can't help but engage the audience as it traces the experience of a young black man at three key points in his life. What emerges is an unusually astute coming-of-age story that encompasses the gangster culture, drug addiction and sexuality without ever taking the simple route.

Set in Miami, it opens with 9-year-old Chiron (Alex R. Hibbert), who is called "Little" at school due to his height as well as the fact that he's unusually sensitive. After school, he roams the streets rather than going home to his junkie mother Paula (Naomie Harris), and one day the cool drug dealer Juan (Mahershala Ali) takes him under his wing, introducing Chiron to his girlfriend Teresa (Janelle Monae), who becomes a kind of surrogate mother. Later when Chiron is 16 (now Ashton Sanders), he still uses Teresa's flat as a refuge, especially when the school bullying gets particularly nasty, damaging his close friendship with classmate Kevin (Jharrel Jerome). Ten years later, Chiron (now Trevante Rhodes) is working as a dealer in Atlanta and returns to Miami to try to reconnect with Kevin (now Andre Holland).

Writer-director Barry Jenkins constructs this film beautifully, echoing themes and images through the three chapters to explore Chiron's trajectory from a sweet young boy to a tough street hood. Running through all of this is his yearning desire for love, and there's a clear underlying romantic connection with Kevin that expresses itself in a variety of complex ways at each stage in their lives. Hibbert, Sanders and Rhodes bring a remarkable soulfulness to Chiron. They may not look much alike, but that's the point: they're the same person inside, no matter how outside circumstances change them.

The supporting cast is very strong as well, offering energy, humour and emotion in each scene. Jenkin's master stroke is to prevent the actors from falling back on the stereotypes, instead forcing the audience to identify with the characters as real people rather than the standard figures we usually see in movies and on TV. And the film's visual approach expands on this, using long handheld takes that cut through surfaces to the emotions underneath. This is an unusual film that takes on significant themes but never feels like an issue movie. It's a compelling and resonant drama that gets way under the skin and stays there.

Rich Cline



Moonlight

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 60 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 20th October 2016

Production compaines: Plan B Entertainment, Upload Films, A24

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Barry Jenkins

Producer: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski

Starring: as Paula, Mahershala Ali as Juan, as Kevin, as Teresa, Trevante Rhodes as Black / Chiron, Ashton Sanders as Chiron, Jharrel Jerome as Teen Kevin, Edson Jean as Mr. Pierce, Alex Hibbert as Little

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.