Monday, 13 March 2017

Moonlight Film Review

I watched a great little movie the other day called Moonlight. I know you've already seen it, and I'm sure it will win big in awards season! To be honest I missed Moonlight the first time around. And I try to see everything! So on it's second run I caught it Friday. Three ages of man tenderly explored by Barry Jenkins. And winning the Oscars Best Film Award. Although one particular Pricewaterhouse Coopers accountant will never work in this town again!


As a child who is perceived as different from the other kids, Chiron, played by Alex R. Hibbert, doesn't have an easy life. Chased after school one night by the school bullies to a drug den, he meets kindly drug dealer Juan, played by the Oscars Best Supporting Actor winner, Mahershala Ali. Unable to get much conversation from this troubled little boy, he takes him home to his gorgeous girlfriend Theresa, played by Hidden Figures's alumni Janelle Monae. After spending the night, Juan takes Little, as Chiron says people call him, back home. His mother Paula, played by Oscar nominated Naomie Harris, just finishing her nursing shift is relieved to see him safe. Knowing the story I was surprised to see her at this stage working and worried about her son.

But it becomes clear over time that Paula has a drug problem. And when Little should be getting support and help to deal with his issues, he gets none from her. She screams that he's a faggot helpfully to the confused young boy, who has to ask Juan and Theresa what a faggot is. But Juan takes responsibility for Little. Taking him out to the ocean and teaching him to swim, while Theresa becomes a surrogate mother to him. Little also has a BFF in Kevin. Again we see Kevin through three ages and he is played as a child by Jaden Piner. The boys have a great friendship as two poor Miami kids.

Juan one night stops by his corner patch and spots a car lighting up. Containing Paula and a boyfriend he drags her out and she confronts him over his attachment to her son. Little asks Juan later if he sells his mother her drugs, and their relationship never recovers.

As a teenager Chiron, played by Ashton Sanders, is just about keeping it together. A handsome young man, but the bullies at school are still the same. And Paula is regularly losing it, demanding money from her son for another hit. Chiron becomes a more frequent visitor to Theresa who says he can come whenever he needs to. Friend Kevin, now played by Jharrel Jerome, is a wide boy, in with the school bullies but still friendly with Chiron, who he nicknames Black. They meet up on the beach where Juan taught Chiron to swim one evening and Chiron has his first sexual encounter.

But a distressing event at school sees their friendship end. And after Chiron is unwilling to make an official complaint, he retaliates against the gloriously haired bully. In quite spectacular fashion. The police take him away.

In the third act we see Chiron as a fully grown man and living in Georgia. Trevante Rhodes with a hot body you can see in the latest Calvin Klein ads along with all the Moonlight men. He takes his fitness seriously and it's no surprise he models himself on Jean. The man who had so much impact on his early life. But sadly I thought, Chiron has followed him into the drug trade. But he's as gentle a man as he was as sensitive a child. One night he gets a call from old friend Kevin who invites him to come to see him if he's ever in town.

Before he makes that journey Chiron visits Mum Paula, now recovering in a clinic, who tries to repair the damage she did to her only son. It's painful that so many lives are destroyed by addiction to drugs and alcohol. Chiron fortunately had help growing up when he needed it, but she knows she loves him now her brain isn't fizzing with crack.

And then the visit back home to Kevin who is a little surprised to see him. After serving time and working in the prison kitchen he found he enjoyed cooking. Played now by Andre Holland, who has been lauded for his portrayal of Kevin, he cooks in a diner, has a child but is single. He serves the chef special for Chiron, Cuban style, and they go back to his flat after he closes up for the night. In a very intimate scene Kevin asks why Chiron came. And man of little words Chiron heartbreakingly tells Kevin that he was the only man who has ever touched him. He has hidden his sexuality for so long in this magnificent body.

I don't think we can ever imagine the sort of life that Chiron had. We never experienced growing up as a frightened and confused kid with no parental care. But he reached manhood and maybe now will become the man he should have been all those years ago. We don't see any further into Chiron's life but he has come home to his childhood friend and love.

Rather than showing a trailer for a movie you've already seen this is an interesting view of Moonlight.




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