Review: Moonlight (2016)

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Numbers obtained from IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes on February 20, 2017.

There are movies whose main characters are actively pursuing a goal, so that the actions narrated contribute to its achievement (or not). There are others, however, in which there is no specific history or singular act that gives rise to the plot. Rather, the focus of the narrative is simply to follow the everyday lives of ordinary people and show that everyone shares the same problems, albeit expressed in different ways. There are two films nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture this year that fit in profile: Fences and Moonlight.

Although both are adaptations (the first of a play and the latter of a book), the two stories have in common the focus on the reality of African American families, albeit at different times and places.

Moonlight is a film of the style called “coming of age”, in which the audience accompanies the life of a person from childhood to adulthood. One of the most recent famous films of this type is Boyhood. However, Moonlight talks about the life of a boy completely different from the one portrayed in Boyhood.

The film is divided into three parts. In the first one, we meet Chiron as a child, played by Alex Hibbert. He is an extremely lonely and sad child, who lives with his mother addicted to crack (Naomi Harris, nominated for an Oscar for Supporting Actress). Chiron meets Juan (Mahershala Ali, nominated for an Oscar for Supporting Actor), a drug dealer who becomes a kind of father, welcoming him whenever possible. One of the most shocking scenes in the film is precisely when Chiron realizes the irony of being friends with someone who sells substances that have made his mother a chemical dependent.

In the second part, Chiron, already a teenager (played by Ashton Sanders), continues with no friends and his suffering in school increases, being bullied constantly. In the third and final part, Chiron is already an adult (played by Trevante Rhodes), but still suffers from his past.

Throughout the film, Chiron is quiet and introspective, and the audience is moved by his gaze, always conveying the feeling that he wants to be loved by someone. Any kind of affection is enough for him, which is why he is so close to Juan as a child, since his mother is completely absent.

The pace of the story is a bit slower than the current films, but it does not hurt the storyline. The idea of ​​dividing it into three parts makes each segment an appropriate size.

The entire cast can move the audience, especially Alex Hibbert and Naomi Harris, who has her best performance so far.

Directed by Barry Jenkins, who is also responsible for adapting the screenplay, Moonlight is important for capturing the anguish of a repressed boy, seeking self-knowledge and trying to understand his sexuality and about how this repression has lifelong consequences.

Nominated for 8 Oscars, with two of them for Barry Jenkins (direction and adapted screenplay), Moonlight does not even have to win the awards to have its place secured in cinema history


Brazilian lawyer that has more passion for movies, theater and music than for the law.

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