Movie Review: Moonlight (2016)

imageWritten and directed with poignancy and grace, Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight (A) is urgent in telling a three-chapter coming of age story of a young African-American man named Chiron and how his experiences growing up in America (largely in a surreal pastel drenched Miami) shape his identity. Rather than tackle only the physical violence associated with most inner-city dramas, the perceptive Jenkins traverses the emotional landscapes of self-worth, racial identity and sexuality and how Chiron learns to find traces of comfort in his own skin. The writer/director has fashioned a very dynamic narrative around a shy and withdrawn protagonist; as embodied by three supremely talented actors – Alex Hibbert (child), Ashton Sanders (teen) and Trevante Rhodes (young man), viewers will ache for him to come to answers. Naomie Harris is devastating as Chiron’s emotionally abusive addict mother, and Mahershala Ali is magnificent as a drug dealer who takes on a role as a near-spiritual guide. The film explores the games people play with each other and with themselves in their quest for acceptance. The clues aren’t easy to discover as the film employs an overall tone of heartache punctuated with bursts of uplift, but the journey is consistently gripping. Based on a play by Tarell Alvin McCraney, the film is splendid and assured cinema with an austere and stunning score by Nicholas Britell and a dreamlike color palette created by cinematographer James Laxton and colorist Alex Bickel (first chapter emulates Fuji film stock to emphasize skin tones followed by Afga film stock adding cyan and the final chapter in Kodak form). This is a must-see for cinephiles and is moving indeed as it pinpoints exactly why this black life matters, expanding consciousness and empathy, and how the people who come into our lives shape our evolving selves.




I've reviewed films for more than 20 years. Current movie reviews of new theatrical releases and direct-to-video or streaming films are added weekly to the Silver Screen Capture movie news site. Many capsule critiques originally appeared in expanded form in my syndicated Lights Camera Reaction column.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in 2016, Rent It Tonight
0 comments on “Movie Review: Moonlight (2016)
1 Pings/Trackbacks for "Movie Review: Moonlight (2016)"
  1. […] Women 8 La La Land 7 Arrival 6 Manchester by the Sea 5 Hell or High Water 4 Everybody Wants Some! 3 Moonlight 2 Swiss Army Man 1 Captain […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Top Stories

Get Updated in Real-Time

Enter your email to receive notifications of new movie review and movie news when the moment they are posted.