Moonlight, Moonlight, Moonlight. The story of a lifetime. This movie is just wauw. It’s just so beautiful in every way. It leaves and impact in the best way possible and I’m in awe of the whole thing.
Moonlight is rightly nominated in: Best picture, actor in a supporting role, actress in a supporting role, cinematography, directing, editing, original score and writing – adapted screenplay. And this movie might become my personal favourite among all the nominees, and we’ve still got a lot left to watch.
I’ve not stated this in any of the other post, because it’s sort of obvious, spoiler ahoy! Also I loved this movie so much, so I have a lot to say. Wall of text after the cut!
This is the story of Chiron’s life, but it is not his life story. The movie shows us three different times in Chiron’s life and connects them beautifully into one coherent story. We have Little, Chiron and Black, who are different people – because we grow and change – but you can clearly see the same person in all the portrayal. I read on IMDb that the three actors who portray Chiron never met during production, because the director Barry Jenkins wanted them to focus on their own performances and have their take on the character.
It is therefore a testment to the script and the director that it is so very clear that this is the same character at different points in his life. You can see him grow in the three segments, but also in the movie as a whole.
Because it is three different actors who play Chiron none of them could get a actor in a leading role nomination, but I still want to talk about how great they are. They all have a really good understanding of the character and really embodies him at the different life stages and I’m really impressed with the physicality they each brings to the role and how it supports the story and character development.
The vulnerability and generel feeling of being lost and not understanding the world around him that Alex R. Hibbert commits to is beautiful. His scenes with Mahershala Ali are fantastic and really gives us an understanding of their relationship and how much it meant to Little. Their scene at the dinner table talking about what a faggot is and if Little is a faggot was so touching I almost cried. It was beautiful, poignant and gave me chills. Kudos to both of them and Janelle Monáe as Theresa, because they were amazing.
Then we have Ashton Sanders as Chiron, who had to build on what we already know from out glimpse of Little. He had to portray this child as a teenager – with everything that comes with being a teenager – and he does it beautifully. The energy of teenage Chriron is amazing. I was blown away by how he managed to capture the spirit of the broken boy in in Chiron. In how he carried himself during the confrontations with the bullies and his mother, as well as the love he did received from Theresa. Adding to all that his confusing thought about Kevin and their beach encounter. Ashton Sanders had to build a lot of Chiron’s whole character on Little and then pave the way for Black to also make sense. And he sure did it.
Lastly we have Trevante Rhodes as Black, who when we first meet him is less easy to recognise as Chiron, but once you see his interactions with others and his silences you know that it is Chiron. Trevante Rhodes, of the three Chirons, is the one who really says the most with his body language. His scenes with Kevin, even when they were on the phone, was filled with so much unsaid, that we could clearly hear. He and André Holland has mad chemistry and their interaction jump off the screen. Trevante Rhodes also have to explain with his actions and interactions with other how he came into being, because as Kevin said “I ain’t see you in like, a decade… It’s not what I expected.”. And he manages that perfectly, because Black is still the quiet guy he always was, and it is easy to see how going to prison for violence have paved the road as his current life.
I really love all the acting performances in this movie, so why not talk about the last one. Naomie Harris as Chiron’s mother. Naomie gives a powerhouse performance of a woman struggling with addition, trying to protect her son as well as utterly neglecting him due to her addiction. She conveys the desperation of the situation so well. She is not a good mother and her mood swings clearly had an impact on Chiron and is one of the reasons he is talks so little. Naomie Harris’ last scene with Chiron at the rehab center was filled with such emotion and power that I was once again near tears. She really sells it as the broken mom, who knows she fucked up, but want her kid to know that she loves him not matter what, and it is okay if he doesn’t love him back. So heartbreaking I tell you!
Okay, so this is already really long, but I want to just touch upon the cinematography and editing, because this movie was beautiful to look at and the cinematography really captured the feeling of the characters. It was very intimate and the editing minimal, but very effective. The first scene with the very long take and spinning camera work really established the world of the movie. Things happen in sequences and it might be a bit messy. I loved the scene with Juan teaching Little to swim, the fact that we got to be there in the water with them really made it feel that more intimate and grounded us in the characters. I also liked the scene at the beach with Kevin and Chiron and their sexual encounter. It was beautifully shot and the lingering on Chiron’s hand just evoked so much emotion.
In conclusion, this movie is beautiful and moving and filled with talented actors and actresses who really bring their best to the table. It a wonderful script brought to life by a great director who manages to make a coherent movie out of three chunks of Chrion’s life. It really is a story of a lifetime and I want everyone to watch it.