FILM REVIEW | Moonlight

REVIEW | Moonlight
Starring Naomie Harris, André Holland, Mahershala Ali, and Janelle Monáe
Review by Mark David Major

(Film blurb begins) A look at three defining chapters in the life of Chiron, a young black man growing up in Miami. His epic journey to manhood is guided by the kindness, support and love of the community that helps raise him. (Film blurb ends)

While we can be grateful that La La Land (2016) did not win the Oscar for Best Picture, Moonlight (2016) did not really deserve the award either. According to the movie’s description, Moonlight is ‘the tender, heartbreaking story of a young man’s struggle to find himself, told across three defining chapters in his life as he experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love, while grappling with his own sexuality.” If, like me, you thought the pace of Silence (2016) was slow, then you will find the pace of Moonlight to be glacial by comparison. Moonlight is a film where the promise of its premise is stronger than the final product.

Primarily set in Miami, there is nothing wrong with the performances in Moonlight though the best ones (Best Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali and the grossly underestimated/stunningly beautiful Janelle Monáe) are too brief and transitory. Naomie Harris is clearly too much of a ‘gym rat’ to make a convincing crack whore (check out her ‘guns’ in the second segment of the film). Overall, the story would have benefited from some exposition where there is hardly any at all now. For me, either Hidden Figures (2017) or Hell or High Water (2016) was the best picture of the year. However, I am now convinced more than ever that Janelle Monáe should have been nominated for something at this year’s Oscars (probably Best Supporting Actress for Hidden Figures). It is too bad that the film Moonlight was not nearly as intriguing as the graphic design for the movie poster (see left). Mark’s Grade: C+


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