11-12-2016 MOVIE REVIEW: MOONLIGHT (2016)
If you can only make time to view one film this year make sure you see Barry Jenkins’ 2016 coming of age picture “Moonlight” which follows a young African American boy named Chiron from his middle school years to adulthood in the rough inner-city of Miami. The film is divided into three different acts focusing on the specific connections, events and revelations that impacted the young boy’s life and ultimately shaped the man we see at the films end. Naomi Harris gives a spectacular performance playing the part of Paula, Chiron’s drug addicted mother. After the first couple of scenes audience-members are quickly exposed to the amount of neglect she shows towards her child and this particular layer of sadness is something, that even as time passes, viewers can never get over. In addition to the rough home life, midway through the film Chiron is also forced to come to terms with his sexual orientation which results in him getting bullied by those who talk and dress differently than he does.
Aesthetically, “Moonlight” is absolutely beautiful with different lenses and color palettes used in each act in order to highlight the experiences and maturation Chiron goes through as he gets older. Though certain characters were written to be quieter than others, the acting is what made this film so real and I was amazed by just how purposeful each line read (by the way, it’s hard to comprehend how Jenkins got kids to memorize lines so long and well versed).
“Moonlight” dazzles and is sure to be a favorite come Oscar season. I give “Moonlight” 4 out of 4 stars.