Review: Moonlight

Source: IndieWire

The most challenging task for any human is attempting to understand themselves. Who we are is influenced by our inner self’s relationship to social norms and expectations. It is such a relationship that Chiron’s arc explores over the course of ‘Moonlight’. The journey represents human struggle at comprehending how we live our lives, and it is a testament to Barry Jenkins that the film never comes across as driven by an external agenda, but instead it is propelled by the story of the core characters. The result is emotionally devastating and revealing, something that the third act boldly enforces (though it does rely on some tropes). However, the concept of a victim is at times manipulated to make sure this outcome is achieved. While Chiron’s arc is remarkable, with Jenkins crafting beautiful, delicate dialogue, and creating a visual manifestation of a spiralling world of endless movement and evolution, the character is rather bland and empty. He is understandably confused, upset and isolated, but this is constant. We get very few examples of moments when Chiron isn’t the victim to something. For the first two acts as the character is growing up, this can be tolerated, but it eventually becomes tiresome, especially when the developments of the third act result from a heavily contrived series of events. Nevertheless, the overall statement that ‘Moonlight’ delivers is exceptionally potent, and with stellar, haunting acting from the entire cast, I can forgive it for pandering to accessibility over nuance. 4.5/5




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