Directed by Barry Jenkins Moonlight is a timeless story of human self-discovery and connection. Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighbourhood of Miami.
Moonlight is a film set in three parts with the first focusing on a boy called Little (Alex Hibbert). However the first shot of the film focuses on a character called Juan (Mahershala Ali), a man who would go on to have a great impact on Little’s life.Juan and his partner Teresa (Janelle Monae) literally provide a safe haven for Little who starts of a bit shy.
His Mother Paula (Naomie Harris) is an addict and one of Juan’s customers. Little’s life at home is then compared to his life with Juan and Teresa. In one he is taught things and the other he is shouted at, however both of them will go on to have a great impact on his life. I also found the confrontation between Juan and Paula to be very engaging viewing.
There is then a bit of a time skip where we see Little grown up and in high school, now known as Chiron (Ashton Sanders). This period of his life primarily focuses on bullying, his relationship with his mother and his friendship with Kevin (Jharrel Jerome). The roots of all these spring up from the first part but only really take root in the second act.
Paula becomes more addicted which strains her relationship with her Chiron. He then has to deal with bullying at school followed by an intimate experience with Kevin that is all but hidden for the audience. However when it came to the knock down game the fight and the impact it would have on Chiron future was anything but.
The last and final time skip takes us to an older and physically fitter Chiron who now goes by the nickname Black (Trevante Rhodes). Black is working on the streets much like Juan was at the beginning of the film. Black is completely unrecognisable to Little and without the events of the second act it would be hard to believe that this is same person.
The final act of the film is one of reflection and reconnecting with the past. Black spends time with his mother and Kevin in an attempt to forgive. Black may seem like he has his life together by this point but this final act reveals that to be far from the truth. The film lacks some direction by this point and then it just kind of ends.
Moonlight is a very good film overall with three incredible performances from Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes. Some of the camerawork can be tough to follow at times but I thought the film worked well overall. Look out for this one when it comes out next month.