• Guy Jeffries

Moonlight Review


Director: Barry Jenkins.

Starring: Alex R. Hibbert, Jaden Piner, Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome, André Holland, Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Janelle Monáe

Not at all familiar with any of Barry Jenkins' work, this being his second feature length film after Medicine For Melancholy, which he made some eight years ago. But this certainly has got everyone's attention already being quite iconic of 2016/17 with that stunning, neon soak poster. I didn't notice at first, only until after watching the film did I realise it's an amalgamation of three different faces.

Based on an unseen play by fellow Miami man, Tarell Alvin McCraney. Both men coming from the same neighbourhood with Jenkins actually filming on location, the very same area he grew up in. We follow Chiron, the film spanning his lifetime, split into three different acts going from child through teenager to a young man who is struggling with self-identity and sexuality on the rough and poverty-stricken streets of Miami.

We witness the struggles, the inner conflict and how Chiron interacts with the often violent world around him, trying to understand friendship and peer pressure, dotted with key life-changing events that help shape the man he eventually becomes.

I unfortunately found it hard to watch three different actors play Chiron through the ages, losing credibility for them being the same character and I think that's a result of Jenkins' decision to keep the three actors separate so not to influence one another and to encourage their own portrayals of Chiron. Though all three actors perform incredibly well, I just found it near impossible to relate them to each other, their physical appearance didn't enforce this either. Though the character of Kevin, the last two actors Jharrel Jerome and André Holland seemed to gel nicely.

The supporting cast is strong, Mahershala Ali fast becoming a star but it was Brit Naomie Harris who is absolutely amazing playing Chiron's crack addicted mother, the only constant character throughout. Her performance is outstanding.

The film beautiful, the technical artistry is amazing with incredible colour capture and reminds myself of how glorious Florida is to look at and experience. Theres moments of thoughtfulness, a strong mood of melancholy when coupled with Nicholas Britell's classical yet sometimes eerie and distorted score.

Out of the oscar nominations the film has rightly received, I think it deserves to win the best adapted screenplay over Lion and Arrival, and it could snatch best picture from La La Land or Hacksaw Ridge.

It's not going to be to everyone taste and some may find it uncomfortable to watch, putting some viewer's back out. But it comes at a perfect time of acknowledgement, a time of awareness of a once strong taboo and is going to be a film very hard to ignore.

Running Time: 7

The Cast: 6

Performance: 9

Direction: 10

Story: 8

Script: 8

Creativity: 9

Soundtrack: 8

Job Description: 8

The Extra Bonus Point: 0

Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Possibly not.

73% 7/10

#BarryJenkins #TarellAlvinMcCraney #AlexRHibbert #JadenPiner #AshtonSanders #JharrelJerome #TrevanteRhodes #AndréHolland #MahershalaAli #NaomieHarris #JanelleMonáe #NicholasBritell