Starring: Mahershala Ali, Trevante Rhodes, , André Holland, Janelle Monáe, Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome, Naomie Harris
Written By: Barry Jenkins
Directed By: Barry Jenkins
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Moonlight is one of the year’s best movies and was awarded Best Picture (eventually) at the Academy Awards the other day. I watched it that day and think it deserved the recognition it got.
The story is about Chiron (played by Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes) who lives in a rough neighborhood in Miami and told in 3 chapters. The first chapter, he befriends a drug dealer Juan (Mahershala Ali). He teaches him to be who he wants to be and not to let anyone tell him otherwise. In Chapter 2, you see Chiron has a teenager in high school dealing with bullies and discovering more about himself. Chapter 3, he is an adult working as a drug dealer and his past comes back into the picture. I’d say more but that would just be spoiling more than I already have.
Honestly, I didn’t know anything about Moonlight except that it was fantastic and being recognized by a lot of awards. I didn’t know the plot or story, so in a way it was good going in somewhat fresh. I loved how the film was shot and told in 3 separate chapters, with different actors each time. It didn’t feel weird or out of place that three different actors played the same character in different points in Chiron’s life. Actually, it didn’t even sink in that the cover/poster features three people on it until after seeing the movie. It looks just like one person; that’s how awesome they did with the casting.
The acting for this was excellent, with Mahershala Ali standing out (obviously since he won). He was only in chapter 1 but his performance made you care about the other characters. I wish he was in more of it though. Naomie Harris played a junkie very well, and all the actors that played Chiron and Kevin obviously did a great job. What I also liked about the movie was the music. It was very dramatic but in a Philip Glass / Jonny Greenwood kind of way. With everything put together with the acting, story, writing, the music and the editing; it just flows really well and doesn’t feel slow at all.
The Blu-Ray contains an audio commentary track with director/writer Barry Jenkins, a featurette on the making of the movie, and two quick featurettes on the music and filming in Miami. The making of featurette pretty much features interviews with cast and crew but was decent.
Moonlight was a surprise because it’s usually not a movie I would go out of my way to see. The acting is excellent and the story was interesting. It was shot really well and the music score was great. I can definitely see why it won a lot of awards.
Audio Commentary with Director Barry Jenkins.
Ensemble of Emotion: The Making of MOONLIGHT
Poetry Through Collaboration: The Music of Moonlight.
Cruel Beauty: Filming in Miami
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Widescreen 2.39:1 Color
Bottom Line: Excellent movie and worthy of the awards it’s getting
Running Time: 111 mins