Screenplay by: Barry Jenkins
Story by: Tarell Alvin McCraney
Produced by: Alede Romanski, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner
Starring: Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes, Naomie Harris, Janelle Monáe, André Holland and Mahershala Ali.
An emotionally charged, poignant film brought close to the audience through beautiful camerawork and the direction of open and honest performances making the story all the more real.
Moonlight follows the life of Cheron as he grows up in the Projects of Miami.
The story follows as he grows from Little (Alex Hibbert), just a kid already running, to Cheron (Ashton Sanders) in the midst of adolescence, to Black (Trevante Rhodes), the man he is destined to become. Each step of life is depicted by a different actor, yet the resemblance of the three is astounding.
Moonlight reveals the life of a boy as he struggles to grow through his mother’s drug addiction, loneliness, racism and his sexual identity. But this isn’t an in-your-face film that confronts and rips your heart out, this is a story shown with genuine artistry through beautiful shots of people and light and an openness where you can see the character up close, like the whisper of a secret.
The soundtrack (composed by: Nicholas Britell) is quiet and used to turn the tide of tone, carefully. The music making or breaking the mood of a film and the support of the soundtrack here essential as the story is shown through the subtle.
And that’s what makes the film resonate so loudly: the small movements, the way a head turns or the light as those eyes flick. All those awkward movements felt and shown, known.
We’ve all been there at some point: the fool, the humiliated, the hated. We’ve all felt the quiet. Yet the film shows love too, like kids sprinting then laughing because they feel the joy of the blood pumping, like kids do.
The authenticity of the story comes from the script based on a project written by Tarell Alvin McCraney: A Forging of Cinematic Identity of Miami, with director Barry Jenkins (Medicine for Melancholy) broadening the script and adapting for screen.
By coincidence both McCraney and Jenkins grew up in the Liberty City housing projects where most of the film is set. And the experience shows in how and where the film was shot.
This isn’t the Miami you see on TV. Yet the feeling of Miami is still there in the palm trees, the beach and the sea breeze.
The soundtrack, the setting, the camera work is all used to support the amazing performances of the cast. As Cheron grows into a man the performances are so open and honest I felt I could see into the soul of the man he becomes.
Moonlight is unique in that it’s both raw and subtle, creating something else, a feeling that stays with you that’s beautiful because it’s laid bare. What a rarity and an experience you won’t soon forget.
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