R / 1h 51m / Drama
Gotham Independent Film Award Winner (2016) – Best Screenplay
Gotham Special Jury Award Winner (2016) – Best Ensemble Performance
Gotham Audience Award Winner (2016)
Gotham Independent Film Award Winner (2016) – Best Feature
Academy Award Winner (2017) – Best Motion Picture
Academy Award Winner (2017) – Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Mahershala Ali
Academy Award Winner (2017) – Best Adapted Screenplay
Golden Globe Winner (2017) – Best Motion Picture, Drama
In moonlight, little black boys look blue.
I don’t even want to write this.
Should I start with the things I did like?
1. Mahershala Ali.
2. The beach / ocean scene involving Juan and Little is the only scene of value in its entirety. There is trust, devotion and relationship building abound. There is sincerity. Connection. It was fantastic.
3. Chiron destroying that chair on the mean kid that looked like a Morlock from The Time Machine (2002).
That’s it. I expected much much much more from this film. I expected to be swooned, to care, to ache. The first third delivered that to me, yes, but I was offended by Mahershala’s mysterious write off and just the complete lack of character development of Chiron and Black. FYI – having a character grow up off screen and show up 10 years later, get bullied a couple of times, have a fight with his mom about secret money and get a hand job on the beach does not constitute as character advancement or emotional elaboration. THEN – to add insult, we lose 10 more years of his life to nothingness and are presented with an absolute stranger that turns into a silent and awkward goob in the presence of scenes that he had all the opportunity in the world to to use as explanation as to what the fuck is even going on.
Obviously, when presented with a story about a gay black man from Miami, at face value I cannot relate. The beauty and challenge of film is to knock down those walls and allow the viewer into that world and to understand it better – to see its aspects, to be able to place themselves there, to feel it, to leave it with new ideas and new outlooks regardless of the subject matter and / or its validity – all of which Moonlight failed us. I felt like an outsider peeking through some stranger’s twitter feed once every 10 years.
4/10 only for Mahershala. If there was ever a drug dealer that I’d want to buy me fast food, it’d be him.