Directed by: Barry Jenkins
Starring: Naomie Harris, Andre Holland, Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monae, Alex R. Hibbert, Jaden Piner, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes, Jharrel Jerome
Runtime: 110 min
Barry Jenkins tells us the story about a black boy who struggles through life, in three very different chapters with a kid, teen and adult Chiron (portrayed by the same number of actors).
Bullying, drugs, parenting issues and problems finding himself are some of the topics depicted in this film, full of emotional and heartbreaking moments.
I didn't know what the movie really was about when I decided to watch it and I'm not going to spoil it for you (even if most synopsis around there already tell you) because it feels so much richer to find it at the same time as the main character.
This is a brilliantly directed film with an amazing story behind it. Barry Jenkins perfectly captures the very harsh and difficult environment that Chiron has to grow up in, especially during his younger years where he and everyone around him are trying to find out who he really is.
With no father figure beside him and a mother with a severe drug addiction, he finds comfort in Mahershala Ali's character, Juan, and Ali's work is just amazing. He definitely deserves an Oscar nomination (and win) for this role, he's really great as well as Naomie Harris, who plays Paula, Chiron's mother. Two great actors with two Oscar-worthy performances. I really don't want to spoil anything from the story so I'll just talk about Jenkins's direction.
I don't have words to praise Barry Jenkins beautiful directing. Everything from the pacing to the camera's work is on point and nothing, NOTHING feels misplaced! Most people might find this film not captivating and even slow, but the truth is that due to the excellent direction by Jenkins, I'm able to live the same environment as Chiron. It's filmed in such a raw and non-cliché way that I find this to be one of the best-directed movies that I've ever seen.
Moonlight is one of the best movies that I've ever seen when it comes to depicting a true, very difficult and harsh environment growing up. With a perfect (all black!) cast and a great story involving every stereotype that today's society (unfortunately) still despises, Barry Jenkins has a pitch-perfect achievement in directing this movie and its story is heartbreakingly and emotionally transmitted to the audience.