Moonlight (2016) Review

Moonlight,” tells of the life of a homosexual African American in difficult social circumstances. Director Barry Jenkins has chosen an exciting topic that he drowns in visually stunning ideas.

MOONLIGHT

Synopsis: Nine-year-old Chiron (Alex R. Hibbert), known to everyone as “Little”, is a quiet boy who is teased by his classmates and abused by his addicted mother, Paula (Naomie Harris, ” Traitors Like Us “) . is neglected. Rather accidentally, he meets drug dealer Juan (Mahershala Ali, ” The Place Beyond the Pines “) and his girlfriend Teresa (Janelle Monáe, ” Hidden Figures “), who soon become a real family to him. The boy slowly opens up.

In high school, Chiron (Ashton Sanders) is still an outsider who gets beat up by the tough guys in his class. Only his buddy Kevin (Jharrel Jerome) stands by him. More than friendship soon develops between the two.

In his 20s, Chiron (Trevante Rhodes) has decided to stop being a victim of his environment and his mother. He’s gained a lot of muscle and now sells drugs himself. When Kevin (André Holland) – who now works as a chef – gets in touch again after years, Chiron makes his way to Miami to put an end to his past there.

Review: Based on the biographical novel by Tarell Alvin McCraney, first adapted (but never performed) as a play, In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, Barry Jenkins wrote and directed this drama that has become a prize-season favorite. That run has now culminated in awards for Best Picture (which no one should have missed), Best Adapted Screenplay (Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney), and Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali). at the Oscars. Of course, part of this incredible success is due to the fact that the timing of Moonlight couldn’t be better given the current political climate. But that doesn’t change anything about the great qualities of the film itself.

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Three-time periods – young adolescence, mid-teen and young adult – in the life of black-American Chiron is presented. When a child, Chiron lives with his single, crack addict mother Paula in a crime-ridden neighborhood in Miami. Chiron is a shy, withdrawn child largely due to his small size and being neglected by his mother, who is more concerned about getting her fixes and satisfying her carnal needs than taking care of him. Because of these issues, Chiron is bullied, and the slurs are hurled at him which he doesn’t understand beyond knowing that they are meant to be hurtful. Besides his same aged Cuban-American friend Kevin, Chiron is given what little guidance he has in life from a neighborhood drug dealer named Juan, who can see that he is neglected, and Juan’s caring girlfriend Teresa, whose home acts as a sanctuary away from the bullies and away from Paula’s abuse. With this childhood as a foundation, Chiron may have a predetermined path in life, one that will only be magnified in terms of its problems when he reaches his difficult teen years when peer pressure affects what he and many of his peers do unless he follows Juan’s advice of truly making his own decisions for himself.

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Boyhood meets Brokeback Mountain meets Boys n’ the Hood is a terrible description of Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight.

A portrait of a young gay black man coming of age in Miami is a wonderful and serious movie that needs to be seen. Divided into three chapters, the film begins with Chiron “Little” (Alex R. Hibbert), a boy whose life is dominated by his addicted mother (Naomie Harris), and bullying schoolmates. He finds an unlikely ally in Juan (Mahershala Ali), a local drug dealer who takes pity on the kid and offers guidance as well as swimming lessons. Along with his partner Teresa (Janelle Monáe), Little finally has a safe space.

The film is built on ellipses and we are never explicitly given any motivation for Juan’s kindness. Crucial events also occur between the lines as we skip ahead to the teenage Chiron (Ashton Sanders). But his problems continue with his harsh environment and the constant threat of violence. Finally, the grown Chiron has become a survivor, hard and as inflexible as scar tissue.

Based on Tarell Alvin McCrane’s stage play, Jenkins has created an intensely personal film about the cost of survival. Without detracting from the sun-soaked delights of La La Land, it’s instructive to see how different life can be. And how certain freedoms we believe to be won, battles done and dusted, are still alive and being fought for daily.

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Few directors let their cameras linger on actors’ faces in the way Barry Jenkins does. He understands that a small change in expression can often say more than ten pages of dialogue. The magic of that focus, especially in this movie, is that it makes the characters more real to the audience. The audience sees the pores of their skin and the minute changes of expression on their faces. There is a tenderness in the careful way Jenkins captures his actors as well as the city he grew up in. He is documenting the streets he knows intimately and telling a story that closely parallels his own. It is so clear that Jenkins is paying respect to the people he knew growing up and the boy he was. Moonlight is honest and open, exactly what a movie of this type should be.

 

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