Moonlight is directed by Barry Jenkins, staring Mahershala Ali, Namoi Harris and Janelle Monáe and tells the story of a young black boy growing up in Miami.
In oscar season, which here in the UK means they all hit cinemas at the same time, there are always some nominees that feel either over rated or just there because it fits the purpose of a certain category. However every oscar nominee so far this year has been stunning such as 'La La Land' and 'Jackie'; and Moonlight certainly keeps this trend going.
Moonlight feels like the kid at the back of the class who doesn't say much but unknowingly has a lot to offer. Moonlight has ever so quietly been keeping it's head down in the crowd of all the oscar nominees until it suddenly, one day, makes a huge entrance. The entire film follows to story of a young boy named Chiron who we see grow up after life constantly knocking him down. The movie chooses to take on various different themes throughout, primarily the effects of drug abuse, race and sexuality, from a distance it seems to bite off more than it can chew, however the film literally tackles every single situation head on, therefore they are all fully explored to their full potential. In not one moment does the film focus on anything other than this young boy, there is an abundance of sub plot opportunities for the film to be easily led astray but it still keeps the focus on him showing how the world around him effects HIM and not how anyone else is effected. With little dialog throughout the film, Moonlight tells it's story through stunning camera work and a chilling ensemble of strings, every shot in the film stood out in it's own way and in the film's most crucial scenes all it uses to tell the story is a mix of colour and some tense music in the background. However done so professionally it's as if a character directly telling us what has just happened would still of had the same effect. This can also be helped by the absolutely stellar performances for Ali and Harris, who in the film's more talkative moments give it their absolute all.
At times unbearable to watch as we are hit with so many different situations as the film beautifully depicts loneliness and self discovery. One almost unnoticeable aspect to the film is how it ever so subtlety shows us crucial things in the story without beating us over the head with it, the film somewhat treats us as if we're clever, as it maturely conveys various adult themes throughout. The film then goes on to sensitively show Chiron as he explores his sexuality, sex scenes are notably uncomfortable for the majority of people watching however a particular moment in this film makes it tastefully artistic rather than being vulgar, Fifty Shades borderline offensive. An intentional slow burner, Moonlight at times feels almost a little too slow paced however this allows the film to takes it's time to fully tell us this character's story, however some people (understandably) may feel a little too bog down in the movement of the film. What some people may view as a backlash to the Oscars So White controversy last year; Moonlight, quite rightly, gives us a film with not only a black director but an entirely black cast making the film so much more empowering as it sticks to it's cultural roots.
In the end Moonlight sensitively tackles many different life issues and how it effects just this one person. With a stunning depth of emotion and a truly beautiful art house film, Moonlight is an instant classic that never boasts on it's phenomenal story telling through music and vision.
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.