Director: Barry Jenkins
Writers: Barry Jenkins and Tarell McCraney
Starring: Mahershala Ali, Shariff Earp, Duan Sanderson, Alex R. Hibbert, Janelle Monae, Naomie Harris and Jaden Piner
Release Date: November 18, 2016
Runtime: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Rating: Rated R for some sexuality, drug use, brief violence and language throughout
Plot Summary: “An African-American grows up in Miami during the ‘War on Drugs’ era of America.”
This movie could not have been released at a more opportune time. Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” is a mature, grounded and open-ended masterpiece. It breaks down the barriers of social stereotypes by exploring a young African-American’s journey to adulthood, identity and maturity. Powerful and realistic themes interact beautifully in a gorgeous story about a boy’s journey to discover himself.
“Moonlight” has some of the best acting I have ever seen put on screen. Every single last member of the all-black cast go above and beyond. The characters are realistic, complex, comprehensible and exclusive. Mahershala Ali, Trevante Rhodes and Naomie Harris particularly impressed me by losing themselves in their characters and investing their emotions into the story. There was not a single performance in this movie that I did not enjoy and I desperately hope that the members of this cast are receiving standing ovations everywhere this movie is shown.
This is also one of the best directed films I have seen in a long time. Every shot in this movie puts you deep into the protagonist’s life and community and takes you along on his personal journey. There was not a single shot, camera movement, lighting effect or editing style/sequence/cut that I disputed; the technical aspect of this movie was perfect in every way.
I can not pinpoint a single thing I disliked about this film. It is utterly amazing. You do not feel like you are sitting in a theater watching a movie when you are watching “Moonlight”; you feel as though you are there with the characters and are living their lives with them. For those reasons, I am going to give “Moonlight” an “A+++”. This movie is such an important film to see in today’s day and age because it features an all-black cast, tackles important themes and tells an impactful story of a human being’s difficult journey to identity. See this now.