Director: Barry Jenkins
Writer/s: Barry Jenkins (screenplay), Tarell Alvin McCraney
Starring: Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes, Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monáe, Naomie Harris, and more.
Recently, the studio A24 has garnered attention from film-lovers all over the world with recent works like ‘Green Room’, ‘The Witch’, ‘Swiss Army Man’, and many more. Recently, a film took to the silver screen and stole the hearts of many who witnessed it. That film is ‘Moonlight’. While, as all films always do, it has not hit home well with every viewer, but nonetheless it has taken major critical acclaim and even received multiple Oscar nominations at the 2017 Academy Awards. So where does Oberrated stand? With what has been received as a “non-traditional” film, it time to give it the good ole Oberrated review.
‘Moonlight’ is a three act film, broken up into “Little”, “Chiron”, and “Black”, all focusing on three different parts of Chiron’s life. Played respectively by Alex R. Hibbert playing “Little”, Ashton Sanders playing “Chiron”, and Trevante Rhodes playing “Black”. All three parts overall portrays the life of Chiron as he grows up in a rough neighborhood within Miami, Florida. Not only simply living in a rough neighborhood but growing up as a gay African-American.
Now this was a unique one. ‘Moonlight’ was so fascinatingly done and such a unique piece to watch unfold. As I referred to previously, in a way, this can be seen as a “non-traditional” film. It does not follow the typical movie formula with a story to develop, there were no big hooks or climaxes placed within. The film simply followed Chiron and his life through the three acts and how he had to live through the many trials and tribulations that came with his environment. Overall, it was a very unique experience watching ‘Moonlight’ in the way it was delivered… Now, for the overall performances and the effect of said performances. ‘Moonlight’ tugs at the heart-strings of its viewer. Everyone involved in the film delivers an honest and pure performance that is felt from beginning to end. From feeling Chiron’s despair to feeling hatred for Naomie Harris’ character who plays Chiron’s mother. ‘Moonlight’ is an emotional piece that demands to be felt. An all-around well executed film from performance to direction.
To draw any kind of negatives from the film, I can understand people not feeling Barry Jenkins’ way of delivering this story. As I said before, with the non-traditional structure and no laid out story, it can be perceived as boring or slow, maybe even pointless to some. But, to anyone that may feel this story is pointless, you would seem to be missing the actual point: Unless you are a gay/lesbian African American being raised in a hard neighborhood, how can you truly know if this story is pointless or not? Even if you changed some parts of the formula, this is a story many do not touch or bring to the light. Not many know the struggle unless they have lived it. So before you care to critique that this story is useless or boring, jump off your pedestal or quit watching Oscar nominated films and stick to The Fast and the Furious.
‘Moonlight’ may not be my favorite of the Oscar nominated films or my favorite of the 2016 film releases but I would be damned if I did not appreciate it or love it in my own way. Watching this film, I was zoned out from everything happening around me and was in total focus of the movie and how it was unfolding with each act. I found myself inside Chiron’s world until the credits began to roll. A very solid and once again, unique film to witness.