More To Say #24: Moonlight

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Moonlight is a 2016 American drama film directed by Barry Jenkins. It is written by Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney based on the previously unpublished play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by McCraney. It stars Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Janelle Monáe, Ashton Sanders, Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali.

The film presents three stages in the life of the main character. It explores the difficulties he faces with his own sexuality and identity, including the physical and emotional abuse he receives as a result of it. Filmed in Miami, Florida, beginning in 2015, Moonlight premiered at the Telluride Film Festival on September 2, 2016. Distributed by A24, the film has grossed $42 million worldwide since its release in the United States on October 21, 2016.

Moonlight received critical acclaim upon its release and was regarded as one of the best films of 2016. At the 74th Golden Globe Awards it won Best Motion Picture – Drama and was nominated in five other categories. The film received eight Oscar nominations at the 89th Academy Awards, winning Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for Ali and Best Adapted Screenplay for Jenkins and McCraney.

Moonlight became the first film with an all-black cast, the first LGBT film and the second lowest-grossing film domestically (behind The Hurt Locker) to win the Best Picture award. The film’s editor, Joi McMillon, became the first black woman to be nominated for an editing Oscar (alongside co-editor Nat Sanders), and Ali became the first Muslim to win an acting Oscar.

The funniest thing when I picked this movie up was when the people next to me where the Blu-rays for this were just randomly spurted out “they don’t tell you what the movie is about on the back.” Here’s what it says on the back:

A timeless story of human connection and self-discovery, Moonlight chronicles three defining chapters in the life of a young black man growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami. Anchored by extraordinary performances from a tremendous ensemble cast, Moonlight is a profoundly moving portrayal of the moments, people, and unknowable forces that shape our lives and make us who we are.

How is that hard to understand what the plot for this is?

And to anybody who was wondering, no, I’m not just reviewing this because it won Best Picture at the Academy Awards, my plan was to look at this movie regardless on if it won Best Picture and after watching it, I will say that this movie is definitely worthy of the Oscar for Best Picture.

I really enjoyed this movie a lot. This is a beautifully made and well told story brought to life on the big screen.

The direction by Barry Jenkins is incredibly handled and you can see the different homages to various films he brings to this, especially with the final scene done as an homage of the final scene from The 400 Blows.

The acting, phenomenal, the people playing Chiron and Kevin through their various stages of life are each great, Trevante Rhodes and Andre Holland are great as the adult versions of the characters and the supporting cast including the Oscar winning supporting performance by Mahershala Ali is very good, Naomie Harris is really good in this, Janelle Monae, after such a great turn in Hidden Figures, gives another really good performance in this movie, I expect her to become a big actress in the years to come.

The script is nicely done, in a way, they basically do Boyhood except cut the runtime of that film in half, don’t film it over 12 years, and still keep the emotional impact throughout the course of the film, Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney’s script does a great job of being something unique while also creating a sense of familiarity with the plot.

Moonlight is an exceptionally told, well acted, well directed and overall well made movie and you can definitely see why it is a movie worthy of the Best Picture Oscar, as much as I loved La La Land, I do agree this one tops it by a considerable amount from the acting to the direction to the writing to the visual look, Moonlight is definitely a movie that should be checked out and shows why it deserved the best picture win this year.

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