• Joshua Buck

Moonlight (2017) Review

A young African-American man grapples with his identity and sexuality while experiencing the everyday struggles of childhood, adolescence, and burgeoning adulthood.

This 2017 Best motion Picture Oscar winner based on Tarell Alvin McCraneys In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue was one I meant to watch for a long time and eventually got around to it and I was completely blown away.

The performances in this movie of Chiron from a young quiet boy who questions his sexuality to a hardened man is a really good change to witness.

Each act of the movie is represented by the different stages in Chiron’s life, childhood, adolescence and an adult. The first act when he is a child is incredibly touching with a mother who loves him but also neglects him. Chiron has no father figure in his life and finds it in a local drug dealer Jean (Mahershala Ali). As Chiron gets closer to Jean, Chiron’s mother show that she is more and more of a drug user and when Jean sees her parked-up smoking drugs he tries to stop her. This is such a powerful scene and the scene that follows to end the act is truly heart breaking.

This movie is great at cutting at the right point as the story has given the viewer all the information it needs and then the act ends and the second starts and it allows the audience to fill in the blanks. It makes the audience have more sympathy with Chiron as he has lost his father figure. Now at adolescence you see Chiron who looks lost in his world struggling to stand up for himself and dealing with his sexual identity.

The camera work in this movie provides a very shallow depth of field where everything in the background is out of focus and Chiron and what he is focusing on is the only things that are ever in focus. This way of storytelling whilst dealing with a character’s sexuality and in Chiron’s case is so internal makes it the perfect way to film it whilst waiting for Chiron to break free and become himself.

The end of the second act is genuinely amazing as Chiron finally lets himself go which leads to him being arrested. It’s hard to watch and the second act is probably my favourite of the lot as I believe it has the most character development.

The third act opens with the same shot as the beginning of the movie and Chiron looks like a completely new man. Making his physical appearance inspired by his only father figure Jean with the crown on the car. Chiron was a very masculine appearance but is still the quiet boy that he has always been. The third act doesn’t have as much conflict but it is more of a revelation of who Chiron is and that fact that he is still struggling with his identity despite the hardened exterior which makes the ending a really good story pleaser when we see Chiron vulnerable again.

Due to the lack of conflict in the final act that is the only reason why I don’t rate this film 5/5 but other than that it is absolutely flawless.

Overall, I rate this movie: 4.5/5

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