Running Time: 110 mins.
Premise: Intimate character study of a poor, gay black male named Chiron at three different stages of his life, struggling to find his place in the world.
Behind-the-Scenes: Based on a play by Tarell Alvin McCraney. Brad Pitt is a producer. Director Barry Jenkins has only made one other movie, Medicine for Melancholy, which came out 8 years ago!
The Good: Pretty much everything. This is a very special film. First and foremost, it is a triumph of casting, as the three actors playing Chiron all embody the same character while each contributing something different to our understanding of him. If I could give a collective Best Actor to the three of them, I would. Equally amazing are House of Cards' Mahershala Ali (as a friendly neighborhood drug dealer who takes a shine to Chiron), André Holland (as Chiron's long-time friend), and Spectre's Naomie Harris (as Chiron's druggie mom). Although the movie sounds awfully dark and depressing, and certainly has some of those elements, it is not. This is a movie about the human condition with a graceful optimism at its core. It is beautifully written and directed by Jenkins, featuring some of the best camera movement of the year. Smart, confident, and deeply moving, Moonlight will stick with you long after the credits have rolled.
The Bad: It lacks a definitive conclusion, which some viewers may find frustrating.
Should You See It?: Yes. 100% yes. This is an instant front runner for Best Picture, if you ask me.
Star Rating: ***** out of 5 stars.
Better Than: Boyhood, Precious
Worse Than: ?????
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