Moonlight (2016)

Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight follows Chiron from early childhood to adulthood, split in three stages based on his developing identity. Chiron’s consistent idiosyncratic mannerisms and phrases intelligently locks you into his character and his difference to other people naturally intrigues you to see how his life unravels. At the core of Moonlight is that it is immensely difficult to not care about Chiron; a complicated, anxious man with an identity-crisis that anyone can relate to. Chiron’s emotions are relatable, but his circumstances are unfamiliar with those of lucky enough to be unaware of poverty, displacement and parental abuse. The cinematography and music combine to give a sense of emptiness and timelessness, which evidently reflects Chiron’s emotions. Moonlight displays subtle insecurities of its characters, including Terrel seeking of affirmation and masculinisation through abusing Chiron and Kevin claiming of sexual encounters with girls to hide his homosexual feelings to his friends. No character displays unremitting composure, but instead exhibit their pain in intricate nuances in expression. Each character is portrayed so convincingly that it forces you to consider the narratives circling Chiron as well as his own. They are all moving through life struggling to come to terms with who they are and where they are going. This is what makes Moonlight seem real. It doesn’t feel like a film, it feels like a piece of pure introspection on the uncertainties and ambiguities of life. If it does get the Oscar for Best Picture I doubt there will be many complaints.

JR — *****