I’ll be honest, there was a lot of hype about this film before it came out and I wasn’t so sure it would live up to it. However, after watching it, I was pleasantly surprised; “Moonlight” is amazing. This is a film about adversity, life in the hood, sexuality and self-worth. Moonlight is an adapted screen play originally written by Miami playwright, Tarell Alvin McCraney.
First off, the cinematography is great. Lots of wide angles that slowly creep in, along with many low angles and beautiful continuous shots. All around this is a visually stunning art piece and I can tell that this director, Barry Jenkins really cares about the Mise-en-scène.
Regardless of how painterly each scene looks, the cast performances pulled this project together beautifully. Mahershala Ali, recently known for playing Cottonmouth in Luke Cage, and Remy from House of Cards, brings a heart felt performance and gains an Oscar nomination for the role. Janelle Monáe, singer, song writer, and actress also brought her own sweet touch to the film. These were the only actors I was familiar with, but every actor on screen performed equally well.
There are some classic hood scenes in the film, but never have I seen them with classical music played over the top.
The storyline played out in an interesting way. Broken into 3 parts; childhood, then teenager, then adulthood. Each revealing some key moment in the protagonist’s lifetime. I liked that the audience could grow with the main character by witnessing certain life changing events. It left me wanting to fill in the gaps, which I though was great because I was still interested after it was over.
I applaud the director for fighting to make ‘Moonlight’ and bring new subject matter and content to the forefront of hollywood.
One thing that definitely kept me locked into the film was the sound editing. The sound track and atmospheric effects were amazing. There are some classic hood scenes in the film, but never have I seen them with classical music played over the top. There were moments I felt sad, happy, mad and even a bit awkward. Homosexuality in the black community is rarely if ever a focal topic of mainstream film. I applaud the director for fighting to make ‘Moonlight’ and bring new subject matter and content to the forefront of hollywood. If I had any hard criticism it would be with the final act. Im not sure the conclusion satisfied me. It was slow, soft and quietly awkward, yet innocent. I wanted more, but like I said earlier it still left me interested after it ended.
My favorite quote from the film;
“At some point you have to decide for yourself who you are. Can’t let no one else do that for you.”
Later I found out that Moonlight has eight Oscar Nominations, I think it deserves at least a few of those trophies. If you have seen ‘Moonlight’ then continue into the spoilers.
* SPOILERS *
Imagine being best friends with someone, then hooking up one night sober, then the next time you see each other they beat you up to look cool because their friends put them up to it. That was fucked up, but there was so much truth in that scene. Sometimes people will betray what they love most out of fear and peer pressure. When he came back for revenge, and broke a chair on that bullies back! Blew my mind, but I felt proud of him for doing it. That was probably my favorite scene.
That was basically the final scene in the second act, which we find out from the third act changed his life forever. I thought it was ironic that ‘Black’ would become a reflection of his father figure and the drug dealer hood mentality. It was obvious that he created this persona as a defense mechanism to hide what he really felt inside.
Naomie Harris played the crack head mother, and did a good job transitioning into a repentant mother at a rehab center. I was hoping Juan (Mahershala Ali) would appear again later in the film but his future was not presented to us. I figured since they showed the mom that they would also show the second family as well but no such luck.
My second favorite quote is also the original title of the play and explains the title ‘Moonlight’:
“In Moonlight black boys always look blue”.
How did you feel about the film overall? Do you love it the way it is or did you leave wanting more? Let us know what you think in the comments below, and subscribe.
Moonlight is a coming of age drama that lived up to the hype. I suggest any one see it at least once. Not very dialogue heavy but the cinematography is brilliant. Director and cast deliver a brilliant performance.