MOONLIGHT. Directed by Barry Jenkins (based on the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney), with Trevante Rhodes, Andre Holland, Mahershala Ali, Naomi Harris, Janelle Monae, Ashton Sanders and Jahrell Jerome.
Review: Paul Blom
Based on a semi-autobiographical play, Moonlight is a beautiful, yet painful, but triumphant film, looking at the human condition in a unique way. Growing up poor and black in America already comes with a set of built-in challenges. This gets even more complicated if your attraction is not for the opposite sex.
Set in Florida, the viewer is taken through three chapters of Chiron’s life – as a young boy, a teenager and adult. His mother is a drug addict and ironically he is taken under the wing of a (compassionate) drug dealer, just one of the many contradictions life throws at us.
With few words, you really feel for the introverted Chiron and his situation, the film-makers and actors relaying that inner struggle and emotional pain extremely well throughout his trials and tribulations, drawing you into his psyche, empathy evoked with race fading into the background. From the start the emotional engagement is intensely real.
Moonlight transcends the familiar expressions of themes like race, drug addiction and homosexuality, masterfully combining these into a real human story with believable three-dimensional characters. As you glide through Chiron’s life like a (helpless) observer unable to aide him, it doesn’t depend on shock tactics, sensationalism or preaching to hammer a point home.
Some of the awards won thus far include: Best Motion Picture Drama win at the 74th Golden Globes, Mahershala Ali’s Best Supporting Actor win at the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globes, and the film received 8 Oscar nominations (including Best Picture).
The chance of Donald Trump screening this in the White House is next to zero – he should, as he (and his racist puppet master Bannon) may learn a few things. But, he’d rather do Finding Dory…