Walking away with the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama, this film is bound to be one of the decade’s finest works. Here are five good reasons why it’s totally worth viewing:
1. It is specific and sweeping
Moonlight tells a story about identity — a challenging struggle that wants viewers to reflect and make assumptions about the character from his youth, adolescence and adulthood. Chiron, the protagonist, is growing up in Miami, is black and gay. From start to finish, we see how Chiron deals with his identity through life experiences and memories. Film director Barry Jenkin’s beautifully balances this scope of awareness through the main character’s perspective.
Even though the film is about a man who desperately wants to shield himself and keep viewers at arm’s length, Moonlight demands to be seen. I don’t think it’s an “issue” film about race or sexuality; it’s gripping on its right. It prompts introspection to the core of Chiron’s life lived in the shadows. It is indeed a heartbreaking story of a young man trying to find himself, and this is defined in three chapters of his life — i. Little ii. Chiron iii. Black.
2. Its lush cinematography
Filmed in Miami, the look of Moonlight was one to be influenced by the city’s people, colour schemes, atmospheric structure and architecture. This film’s visual style is somehow intoxicating and it get’s everything right; the urban backdrop, the vibrant coloured homes, the tropical weather and its fluorescent lights — it all comes together.
3. Its remarkable soundtrack
“There is beauty, intimacy, tenderness and sensitivity to many of the scenes in the script,” says composer Nicholas Britell. He captured these feeling musically and to which became ‘Chiron’s Theme’. The harmonies felt like they were subtly exploring different emotions at the same time, much like of the character’s feelings throughout the film.
4. It touches on themes in ways that are rarely depicted in cinema
“At some point, you gotta decide for yourself who you gon’ be.” This is an important line from the film with themes of race, sexuality and isolation. It shows experiences in pain and the beauty of falling in love while struggling with one’s sexuality. Moonlight is not an easy watch at times, partly because it dives into the protagonist’s haunted psyche. However, it’s a type of story we so rarely get to see in big pictures; with an honest and artistically crafted look at the character’s life.
5. Its tremendous cast and their performances
Probably one of the best casting ensemble I’ve ever seen. Each character played the part so beautifully, most especially the young, adolescent and adult Chiron. They all resemble the same ‘stillness’ and ‘fragile’ interior that embraces the story of a man’s suppression and isolation. Supporting actors played an important role, too. The two maternal figures, his best friend and the man who took him in like his own. I really would not be surprised if a few of them get nominated for an Oscar. They are all MVPs.
Adapted from Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play “In the Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” writer-director Barry Jenkins’ tells a tale of a lost boy named Chiron. In three unforgettable chapters of his life, we experienced a heartrending film that is worth all the emotions and empathy that manages to be, at its quietest moments, powerful and indeed true poetry. Releasing January 19, exclusively at Rialto Cinema Newmarket and Lighthouse Cuba Street.
Moonlight (2017) = Sublime, 4.5/5