Moonlight - This Movie Rocks The Sunshine, The Moonlight AND The Boogie
Dir: Barry Jenkins
Starring Mahershala Ali, Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes, Naomie Harris, Jonelle Monae
Moonlight is the tale of one young man, told in three acts, from a child to a teenager to an adult, as he slowly comes to terms with the nature of his sexuality. Played remarkably well by three different (and very different looking) actors (Hibbert, Sanders & Rhodes), our central figure is known as Little in act 1, by his given name of Chiron in his teens, and his nickname of Black in the final act. It is a beautifully balanced look at a subject - homosexuality - that African American cinema has barely ever handled at all, let alone this well.
Jenkins initially moves through Little’s life with a prowling, hand-held camera, before settling into a more formal, almost sedate approach to the film’s final act, with Chiron coming to terms with who he is and, as a lovely ending reminds us, always was. The performance are fresh from the three leads, as well as Ali as a drug dealer who proves an indelible figure through Chiron’s childhood, and Jonelle Monae impressing in her screen debut.
Whilst there is a degree of drug dealing and the inevitable gun or two, Moonlight – which features not a single white face - is determined to be a different example of what black cinema can achieve and what stories it can chose to focus on. As such, it’s very quietly impressive.
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