Moonlight (♦♦♦♦)

Chiron is a black boy growing up in a tough neighborhood in Miami. His mother (Naomi Harris) kicks him out of their house often to do drugs. Accidentally, he befriends Juan (Mahershala Ali), a man with a good heart and a nice girlfriend, both of whom, open their home to Chiron and give him food and money, possibly to atone for the fact that Juan controls the drug selling in the neighborhood.

Chiron is a sensitive boy. Most boys pick on him and call him names. He knows how to fight back but most times chooses not to. Kevin is his only friend, or at least the only boy who doesn't care how he is. Over the course of the years, Chiron will struggle with his identity (sexual and otherwise), his sense of direction, the lack of love he has received from his biological mother, and the cycle of poverty, violence, and drugs in his neighborhood.

Moonlight, like most movies that competed at the Oscars this year, is powerful in an understated way. It is a meditation on race, identity, the search for love, violence, poverty, and drug abuse, without one single element in the movie overpowering the others.

Chiron's journey, from boyhood to adulthood, is narrated in three acts. As an audience, we witness a boy grappling with his sense of self triggered by hurtful words coming from left and right, seemingly small acts that compounded lead to the choices the main character makes...And by the closing act, those choices are far from pretty; the vicious cycle of the streets he grew up in has been set in motion.

The acting is stellar across the board. Naomi Harris and Mahershala Ali earned Oscars nominations for Best Actor and Best Actress, both in Supporting Roles. Mahershala Ali won the Oscar. Moonlight also was nominated for and won an Oscar for Best Motion Picture.

Comments

  1. I wanted to see this when it was in the theaters (maybe it still is?) but never got a chance to. I still want to see it and your review just makes me determined to make that happen.

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    1. Thanks, Dorothy, your compliment means a lot. This movie is already out for rental. You are in for a treat.

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  2. I haven't seen this one yet. It seems like there's been such a surfeit of really emotionally heavy films lately and right now I'm dying for something light and entertaining. I would like to see this at some point though. It sounds excellent.

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    1. I agree with you that this year's Oscars contenders have an emotional undercurrent about them; at least two of them were very dark, but that's what made them so good. I understand the need for something lighter. Have you watched Bridget Jones's Baby or The Edge of Seventeen? Both are excellent and very funny.

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  3. Excellent review of an excellent and moving movie. I was glad it won Best Picture instead of that other one!

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    1. Thanks, Judy! I understand why it won over the other one, as its appeal is more universal. That's an unwritten requirement for Best Picture.

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  4. This certainly was a very well acted movie with a strong impact. I'd like to watch it again to be honest because I think I will probably have missed things.
    Lynn :D

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    1. It's a movie to view again and again because probably new perspectives are added to your original impression of the film.

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  5. I agree it is powerful in an understated way. I enjoyed the performances and would love to see Ali in more movies.

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