Saturday, January 21, 2017


Plot: This is anthology of three stories that follow a Florida boy, Chiron, through high school and into young adulthood. Chiron is bullied in grade school and in high school.  [imdb]    [photos]

I kept waiting for something to happen that so Moonlight would make sense or create a payoff for all the set-up. The payoff is so deeply hidden that it takes a lot of work to find it. The first story is a drama about a damaged child. The second two stories are morality tales about damaged children becoming damaged adults and then healing of damaged adults. The second two stories don't work as dramas and they are kindof dull--they only work metaphorically. The story's meaning is only available on contemplation of the whole later on. The second two stories are not enjoyable to watch in the theater.

The childhood story is the best; it is gripping and the characters are deep & interesting. The second story has weaker-acting and stereotypic school-yard antics. The third story of the adult Chiron (Trevante Rhodes) is insubstantial. The subplot about homosexuality isn't edgy in 2017, but it is a metaphor for male friendship.

The scenes of bullying are hard to watch, but strangely they were the best part of the movie. They were dramatic and well acted. The bullying was emotive and created sympathy for Chiron. In the first segment the characters were well-developed and acted appropriately.

I loved Mahershala Ali as the heroic local drug dealer who took care of Chiron when his Mom (Naomie Harris) could not. He has a great presence. Too bad he wasn't in the latter 2 stories. I want to see more movies from him. Andre Holland, who played Kevin in the third story was also a stand out actor. I loved his performance in the diner scene.

Moonlight isn't preachy, but there is a social message in there about caring for people, about growing up, and about how our society doesn't take care of the weakest among us.

The story arc is about the emotionally-damaged, drug-dealer man, who seeks solace from compassionate near-strangers. It encourages everyone to be compassionate to strangers because we don't know their stories. 

Cast: Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Janelle Monae, Alex Hibbert, Andre Holland

Directed by:
Barry Jenkins

Written by:
Tarell A. McCraney and Barry Jenkins

The Music:
Wide variety of music from pop to classical

The Visuals:
A number of artsy shots of people talking, especially early in the movie. 

2.0 stars: Not fun to watch. Not well constructed, but you can find the story arc if you look hard for it. 


More: Seems like a boring art movie, and it is, however, there is a core there to chew on.

After I got home, I wrote "I am disappointed to have wrecked an evening watching this." Today, the first story is sticking with me. The characters were deep, and I spent time thinking of them.