Reviewed byA_Different_DrummerVote: 9/10/10
The reviewer's dilemma (and it is a dilemma reviewers LOVE toencounter) is, in a superb film with superb acting all around, a superbscript, and superb directing, you still need to pay special attentionto those actors that, in such a competitive environment, stand out assomething "extra" special.
In this mesmerizing film, special attention has to go to two actors whosteal every scene they are in and silently promise the viewer that thelong and bountiful careers ahead of them will deliver even betterperformances down the road.
I am referring first to Mahershala Ali, whose magnetic presence madehim the centerpiece of Luke Cage (where he competes with, andsurpasses, actors with much greater experience). If you watch thisactor closely, not only is he in the moment, but his body seems to bein constant motion even when he is sitting still. Like a hummingbird.Awesome to behold and although he has been lately playing characters of"dubious morality" one gets the feeling he could play a hero just aseasily.
And then there is the performance of Naomie Harris, a performance sostrong and memorable that I began to recall that, in the Golden Age offilms, they used to refer to performances like hers as "searing" -- butlately I have not seen the term used very often in a review.
So in honor of Ms. Harris I will say for the record that herperformance in this film -- with minimal screen time -- is searing andunforgettable.
Reviewed byLord moo_23Vote: 10/10/10
To solely categorize this film as an examination of Chiron, a youngAfrican American who has to deal with being gay is accurate butinadequate. It wouldn't be inadequate to also categorize it as a movieabout drug abuse, school bullying, and isolation. However, if someonewere to ask me what MOONLIGHT is truly about I would say that, at it'score, it's a film about teaching a child how to swim, feeling the sandon your skin, and cooking a meal for an old friend.
Director Berry Jenkins is not afraid to be poetic, to guide his filmaway from conventional storytelling and offer his audience something toconnect to in their own way. The way his camera roams around issensually magnificent; he knows when to cut to the next shot and whento linger a few seconds longer. But above all else, his ability to addan extra texture to each scene is awe-inspiring; it's more than juststyle for the sake of style; it's essential to the movie's argument.
From the very first shot to the very last, MOONLIGHT is about asbeautiful a movie as you're likely to see this year. The colours arerich and luminous; James Laxton's cinematography is visually immersiveleaving you stranded inside the story of the film. It moves at asmooth, welcoming pace. The music, whether it be the classical orhip-hop selections as well as Nicholas Britell's subtle score, isperfect. And the performance are, well they're the cherry on top.
It's uncanny how similar the 3 actors, who played the kid, teenage, andadult versions of Chiron behaved and acted; you'd almost think it wasthe same actor who played all three roles. Mahershala Ali and NaomieHarris are more deserving of Oscar nominations than just about anyoneI've seen this year. They may be the standouts, but all theperformances, ranging from the children to the adults, are so raw andpowerful; a standing ovation for the casting director is in order.
But perhaps the thing about this movie that deserves the most acclaimis its open-endedness; it's fight against straightforwardcategorization and recap. MOONLIGHT so much more than a movie aboutgrowing up gay; it's about overcoming your adversities and, despitebeing a product of your environment, figuring out who you want tobecome. Identity takes time to discover, and that's something anyonecan relate to.
Reviewed bybigmystery23Vote: 10/10/10
This is a movie that deserves to be seen without knowing too much aboutit. I want to be brief about my reaction to this film, but what Ireally want is for you to know that this is a must-see film because itshowcases a story from characters not seen enough in film. It's animportant film not because it draws attention to race, but because itreminds the audience that skin color shouldn't be a factor infilmmaking (though there are exceptions, particularly with historicalaccuracy).
First, I must applaud Berry Jenkins on his firm direction. He is notafraid to be poetic, to guide his film away from conventionalstorytelling and offers the audience to connect to the film in theirown way. The film is not about a black man figuring out his sexuality,but about how identity takes time to discover, something almost (ifnot) everyone can relate to.
The performances, ranging from the children to the adults, are so rawand powerful. Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali are the standouts, bothon the verge of receiving awards recognition. A standing ovation to thecasting director!
The soundscape is particularly impressive. It knows when to draw insound and when to take it away, what type of music is necessary in theparticular scene (bravo to composer Nicholas Britell), when to bringthe volume and bass up or down, and so on.
There is so much more to say about this film, but I want to leave it upto you to decide. And I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Three time periods - young adolescence, mid-teen and young adult - in the life of black-American Chiron is presented. When a child, Chiron lives with his single, crack addict mother Paula in a crime ridden neighborhood in Miami. Chiron is a shy, withdrawn child largely due to his small size and being neglected by his mother, who is more concerned about getting her fixes and satisfying her carnal needs than taking care of him. Because of these issues, Chiron is bullied, the slurs hurled at him which he doesn't understand beyond knowing that they are meant to be hurtful. Besides his same aged Cuban-American friend Kevin, Chiron is given what little guidance he has in life from a neighborhood drug dealer named Juan, who can see that he is neglected, and Juan's caring girlfriend Teresa, whose home acts as a sanctuary away from the bullies and away from Paula's abuse. With this childhood as a foundation, Chiron may have a predetermined path in life, one that will only be magnified in terms...