By Jay Hunter – Clearly unabashed by last years #OscarSoWhite controversy, director Barry Jenkins sets out to prove that underneath our exterior, we are all made of the same squishy-gooey stuff in a problematic but beautifully intimate three act character study.
Exploring the delicate, poignant 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. Moonlight uses one man’s story to offer a exceptional and shiningly crafted look at lives too rarely seen in cinema.
But whilst it’s narrative is comfortable to go against the general tide of Hollywood – in that there is no reliance in antagonists or protagonists, the movie simply exists – it bows to familiar subtext all too willingly. The movies climax of an ocean scene all but confirms this. By far the bravest notion of Moonlight comes in it’s casting. Barry Jenkins makes the bold decision to cast three actors in the role of Chiron – a boy, then a teen, then a man estranged by his sexuality – who bare no physical resemblance to each other.
Whilst Moonlight suffers under the all too familiar glow of alienation and subtext, it’s remarkably brave and powerful film that is fuelled by brilliant performances across the board.