Certain films, you have to experience to understand. The immensely intimate, beautifully directed Moonlight, is one of them.
Directed by Barry Jenkins
So many films go for attention grabbing, screaming intensity these days. Loud performances that grab you by the throat and glue you to the screen. It is perhaps why melodramas and soap operas have become so popular. Loud keystone emotions for a quick reaction. Then comes a film like Moonlight, so unexpectedly in its execution, so uncompromising in its vision, and so personal that it leaves you breathless.
Moonlight chronicles the life of one man, through 3 very different periods of his life. A young child, struggling to live with his drug addicted mother. A teenager struggling with his sexuality while being bullied, and finally ending with him as an adult. I’ll be the first to admit, that does not sound all that interesting. Another coming of age story like “Boyhood” right? Boy was i wrong.
Above all else, Moonlight feels uncannily urgent despite being so simple. It tells a story of heartbreak without much melodrama, or fluff. It cuts straight to the point, then moves on to the next chapter. The style is low key, sparse and works incredibly well to highlight the ebb and flow of time. Like going through the film reels of a family album, we see so much through so little. Barry Jenkins does amazing work here by turning the coming of age story into a tight character study spanning 3 decades. Coupled with brilliant acting across the board and a soulful soundtrack, Moonlight is a difficult but insightful look into the lives of those we so rarely understand.