Monday, January 16, 2017

Moonlight - Movie Review

Starring Trevante Rhodes, Andre Holland, Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Janelle Monae, Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome and Jaden Piner.
Written & Directed by Barry Jenkins.


I went into this not knowing much about it, on purpose. I knew it was about three different points in this one boy's life, but there's so much more there. This is a very personal project from Barry Jenkins.

We meet the character of Chiron at age 9 (Alex Hibbert), age 16 (Ashton Sanders), and age 26 (Trevante Rhodes).  At age 9, Chiron goes by the nickname Little. We see he has no father, his mother's a drug addict, and Little finds a father figure in his mom's drug dealer Juan (Mahershala Ali). Despite his choice of careers, Juan is a decent man to Little, and his wife Theresa (Janelle Monae) becomes the positive mother figure in his life too. Little is a shy kid around his peers, not into athletics like the other boys.

I won't go into the other two stages, but all three actors playing Chiron are really good. They may not look like they could all be the same person, but each seems like he studied the performances of the other two so this could feel like the same person.

The acting nomination buzz has been around Ali, and deservedly so, but I'd also champion Naomie Harris (a British actress!) as Chiron's Miami-native mother. (She's nominated for a SAG award.) In fact, Best Supporting Actress is shaping up to be one competitive field with Viola Davis, Michelle Williams and Nicole Kidman.

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