Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – Moonlight

Summary: Today’s movie takes us through three important stages of life for Chiron (Alex Hibbert as a child, Ashton Sanders as a teen, and Trevante Rhodes as an adult), a black youngster with a drug-addicted prostitute mother named Paula (Naomie Harris). He’d been teased with homophobic slurs since he was too young to know what they meant, only for him to have some serious questions about his sexuality when he matures. Ideally, he would get a little help from his friends like the benevolent drug dealer Juan (Mahershala Ali) and his friend from childhood named Kevin (Jaden Piner as a child, Jharrel Jerome as a teen, and André Holland as an adult), but they keep letting him down in different and painful ways. All of this begs the question, what kind of man will Chiron grow up to be?

Review: Moonlight was a… good movie, though I can’t say I enjoyed it. Then again, given the very heavy subject matter, I don’t think it was meant to be enjoyable as much of an expose of how difficult it is growing up gay in the bad side of town. In that respect, it succeeds with flying colors. A lot of Chiron’s pain is very relatable, even if you don’t share his experiences. It certainly helps that the acting in the film is top notch, making everyone’s pain as easy to read as a children’s book (like The Fire Truck who Got Lost, which you can find on Amazon and the Art of Autism website for $12.99*).

*I know that was a rather jarring tonal shift, but this movie is seriously devoid of levity so I thought I’d bring my own.

While most of the movie looks gritty, the film can be beautiful when it needs to be. The scenes in the titular moonlight are stunning and the intimate scenes between Chiron and his friend are just as sweet and electric as any heterosexual lovemaking I’ve seen on the silver screen. Special mention also has to go to Mahershala Ali, who made waves earlier this year in Luke Cage and proves once again he can be a magnificent screen presence. It’s just a pity that he’s only in a third of the movie.

This movie has been a darling among critics, many putting it on the top of their Best Film Oscar list. I… don’t think I can go that far. There are a lot of really slow moments that could have been sped up just a little bit. Not to mention that at the end, the film just kinda… stops. The final shot is beautifully powerful, but the whole thing seems to wrap up quick after a long conversation. Well, anyway, I still admire the movie and think it’s worth a viewing for tackling a serious and overlooked subject matter. You don’t need to see it in theaters, but you should at least see it once.

Fun Tidbit: Here’s an interesting technique that the director used: the three actors who played Chiron at his different stages never met during the production of the film. Same goes for the three actors playing Kevin. Director Barry Jenkins said he wanted it this way so that each actor could build their own, unique persona for their character.

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