Film Review: Moonlight

DIRECTOR: Barry Jenkins STARRING: Mahershala Ali, Shariff Earp, Duan Sanderson, Alex R. Hibbert, Janelle Monáe, Naomie Harris, Jaden Piner, Ashton Sanders, Edson Jean, Patrick Decile, Herveline Moncion USA 2016


Moonlight tells the tale of Chiron, a young black man, as he passes from childhood to manhood. It follows him down the winding path that shapes him as he is trying to unravel his true desires without being defined by his troubled life. The build up of scenes that lead to simple moments of interaction is what really defines this movie, a testament to human relationships and emotions. When life turns into an ongoing battle it’s those everyday moments that start to count. They are all you’re left with when you close your eyes at night and Moonlight does a great job of reminding us.

Through Barry Jenkins’ prism we walk down avenues of self-exploration and self-realisations that may be painful at times but their purity offers relief. At times it’s almost like we’re taking a sneak peek into someone’s personal moments when we shouldn’t really be doing that, however we still feel welcome to carry on. Even the fluidity of Britell’s score for the film which marries hip hop elements with orchestral parts provides the perfect soundtrack for the broken but strong souls of the characters. There’s nothing contrived about this film; it may touch upon topics such as race, sexuality, identity and cultural backgrounds but the labels and definitions don’t seem to matter at any point throughout the film. Everything is overpowered by the dynamics that can develop among people and the strong connections that are developed when you let your guard down. Moonlight’s beauty is as uncommon and innocent as its ending scene, a child playing under the moonlight.

Words: Anastasia Psarra
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