Moonlight (2016) Poster

(I) (2016)

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Simple, Painful, Outstandingly Beautiful
greeenchik1 March 2017
Moonlight is one of the most beautiful and heart-wrenching films that I have ever seen. Many users are expressing disdain or presumed it to be dull. Yet, to see it as such misses the whole point of the film. Moonlight wasn't intended to overtly wow us or give us knowledge about something we didn't already know. Rather the film allowed us to enter and follow a life that I'm sure many have never considered living. Yes, we know some about poverty, queerness, masculinity, and Blackness individually, but to see the conflict of it all so succinctly woven together allowed the complexity of some folks lives to be seen in an unadulterated way. Moonlight wasn't supposed to give us some grandiose finale or even answers, but simply present a narrative that we often don't see. And that's what makes it so simple, painful, yet outstandingly beautiful.

It's also important to remember that just because you don't understand something, that doesn't mean it is unimportant or invalid. Just because you can't relate to the entire story doesn't mean pieces of it can't teach you something about life. Just because the narrative is one that isn't widely told, doesn't mean it should be disregarded. If you don't understand this film or find it a waste, look deep inside yourself and ask why.

10/10 would recommend.
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Moonlight is everything a movie should be and more
lovelypagesreviews4 March 2017
I've seen a lot of movies lately, mostly because we've had a series of amazing releases but Moonlight affected me deeply on a personal level like very few managed to do in the past few years.

Having seen the trailer only once and knowing the brilliant cast – Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Janelle Monae – I was sure this one would be a hit. And ten minutes into it I had already gotten a handful of tissues out, like the rest of the audience in the theater and was silently wiping my tears while the actors gave a stellar performance.

First of all, I was ecstatic to see that Moonlight featured an all black cast. From behind the camera, to the leads, down to the last extra, kudos and please can we have more already? Second of all, Moonlight showed that a movie can talk about queerness in the black community and turn it into art and present it with dignity and beauty and capture the essence of being a black gay man, the masculinity and actually show the struggles, it went to places a few movies would dare to go and it spoke to me; I know for a fact a lot of people walked out of the cinema more accepting and open-minded. I had a 70-year-old grandpa sitting next to me, weeping and crying like a child, I have never felt more connected with the people I'm randomly watching a movie with.

I can't talk about Moonlight enough, the cinematography was exquisite and the directing was epic, the editing just brilliant. I could almost feel the sunlight through the screen and the humidity in the air. The camera takes you with the people and it captures emotion and feelings like you are there, somehow managing to peak into their lives.

Despite the fact that the movie goes from decade to decade, childhood, young adult and grown man, you never feel any gaps in the story. Sure through the years there are noticeable differences and happenings we don't know about – and never really get answers to – but this is Chiron's story and unlike books, people don't go about their life everyday talking about the past, or recalling life altering events. We get three major turning points in Chiron's life, presented beautifully and with a painful honesty. The ending left me gasping and a mess, I was happy and full of emotions and love and I still remember scenes from the movie and my heart breaks for Little and at the same time I feel happy for Black and I want to protect Chiron.

Moonlight is everything a movie should be and more; an example of how things can and should be portrayed and it all comes with brilliant performances and incredible directing. If there's only one movie you'll watch this year, it's Moonlight. This is why representation matters and why we need more of it. Take everyone with you, recommend it to as many people as you can, never stop talking about it.
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Three One Everything
marcosaguado4 January 2017
When a film comes out and you know next to nothing about it with a director you don't know and a cast of mostly unknowns and it blows you away like it did me. Then I know I'm confronted by something unique. In fact it was director/writer Martin Donovan who wrote about Moonlight, urging all his actors to run and see it. Thank you sir. The faces of those three young men who are just one did something to my brain and to my heart. The best group of actors I've seen in one single film in a long, long time. The big surprise is that we knew it all along. It's all about love and what it means to be a man. Thank you Barry Jenkisns A revolutionary film made of truth and beauty.
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A film about nothing
jtindahouse22 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
With all the controversy back in 2016 over the #Oscarssowhite shambles, it seems that in 2017 the Academy has made a conscious effort to include as much diversity into the show as they possibly can. Unfortunately, the downside of that is that films like 'Moonlight', which are in reality very average, get recognition they don't deserve and people are fooled into thinking they are better than they actually are. 'Moonlight' is a simple film, in fact it's far too simple. There is almost nothing thought-provoking or interesting that happens for the entire 110 minute run time. Yet somehow it's up for a plethora of awards. Go figure.

Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris have each been nominated for Academy Awards in their respective Supporting categories. Ali is quite brilliant, in fact he's the highlight of the film. He's in nearly the entire first third of the film and I was starting to wonder how this was considered a "Supporting" role, yet he soon drops away. I wish he had been in it for longer though, because he was quite superb. Harris was also quite good in her role. She has a more spread out performance in the film, reoccurring in each chapter. I wouldn't say she blew me away, but she was certainly solid in her role. I will predict Ali to win his category, and Harris to miss out.

'Moonlight' is one of those films that just kind of drifts along until the credits role. The question I kept asking myself as I watched it was, what is meant to be so extraordinary about these characters? What part of this story justifies making a film out of it? To me it appears that some impressive acting and some false award nominations have tricked people into thinking this film is better than it is. Very disappointing.
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Identity Takes Time to Discover
bardia-moose2 November 2016
To solely categorize this film as an examination of Chiron, a young African American who has to deal with being gay is accurate but inadequate. It wouldn't be inadequate to also categorize it as a movie about drug abuse, school bullying, and isolation. However, if someone were to ask me what MOONLIGHT is truly about I would say that, at it's core, it's a film about teaching a child how to swim, feeling the sand on your skin, and cooking a meal for an old friend. Director Berry Jenkins is not afraid to be poetic, to guide his film away from conventional storytelling and offer his audience something to connect to in their own way. The way his camera roams around is sensually magnificent; he knows when to cut to the next shot and when to linger a few seconds longer. But above all else, his ability to add an extra texture to each scene is awe-inspiring; it's more than just style for the sake of style; it's essential to the movie's argument. From the very first shot to the very last, MOONLIGHT is about as beautiful a movie as you're likely to see this year. The colours are rich and luminous; James Laxton's cinematography is visually immersive leaving you stranded inside the story of the film. It moves at a smooth, welcoming pace. The music, whether it be the classical or hip-hop selections as well as Nicholas Britell's subtle score, is perfect. And the performance are, well… they're the cherry on top. It's uncanny how similar the 3 actors, who played the kid, teenage, and adult versions of Chiron behaved and acted; you'd almost think it was the same actor who played all three roles. Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris are more deserving of Oscar nominations than just about anyone I've seen this year. They may be the standouts, but all the performances, ranging from the children to the adults, are so raw and powerful; a standing ovation for the casting director is in order. But perhaps the thing about this movie that deserves the most acclaim is its open-endedness; it's fight against straightforward categorization and recap. MOONLIGHT so much more than a movie about growing up gay; it's about overcoming your adversities and, despite being a product of your environment, figuring out who you want to become. Identity takes time to discover, and that's something anyone can relate to.
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Atmospheric inner city coming of age story has major third act problems
Turfseer11 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Moonlight represents the end product of a collaboration between Barry Jenkins who wrote the screenplay based on a play by Tarell Alvin McCraney. It has an amazing score of "99" on Metacritic, with the lowest score being "63." When I saw this score my immediate reaction was that this film is no "99." It's a lot closer to that "63," a score attributed to a review put out by Slant Magazine.

Moonlight is divided into three segments, first focusing on a young African-American boy named Chiron (whose nickname is "Little" in the first segment). When we first meet Little, he's run away from home, alienated from his crack-addicted, abusive mother, Paula. A crack dealer named Juan discovers Little inside an abandoned motel and after learning he's been the victim of bullies, he brings him to the home of his girlfriend, Theresa. Little is mute until he opens up the next morning and tells the couple where he lives.

Juan eventually forms a relationship with Little, acting as a mentor, despite hostility from the boy's mother. Unfortunately, Juan plays no part in the rest of the film and we eventually learn in the last segment that he's no longer alive. Despite the lugubrious pacing, Moonlight chronicles the tragedy of how drugs can play such a ruinous part in the lives of African-American men and women, residing in the inner city.

Just at the right moment, Jenkins introduces Chiron as a teenager in the second segment. Here he is referred to by his true name. The withdrawn child is now a withdrawn teenager who is still coping with his crackhead of a mother and is taunted by other teens who regard him as not only passive but possibly homosexual. Jenkins isn't afraid to chronicle additional problems in the African-American community, especially the scourge of bullying.

The story becomes more interesting when Chiron hooks up with his old childhood friend, Kevin, who leads him to a homosexual encounter on the beach. There's more drama when Kevin participates in a hazing ritual, betraying Chiron by slugging him a number of times in the face, at the behest of the usual suspects of high school bullies. When Chiron smashes a chair over the bully in front of his high school class, he's taken away by the police and placed in a juvenile detention center.

The third segment focuses on Chiron ten years later—he goes by the name of "Black," an appellation given to him by Kevin when he was in high school. Jenkins makes the mistake of casting the older Chiron with an actor who doesn't resemble the younger high school student Chiron, at all. We find out next to nothing about the older Chiron, except that he's now a hardened drug dealer living in Atlanta.

After getting a phone call from Kevin, who now works as a cook in Miami, Black goes to visit him there. He first visits his mother who is now a resident at a nursing home and begs his forgiveness for her earlier deleterious behavior. Naomie Harris does a fine job as the repentant mother and the son hugs her, still acknowledging their bond.

Once Black walks into the small restaurant where Kevin now works, the story is virtually over. You can guess what happens next: Black acknowledges that he's been alone since their encounter in high school—and he agrees to send the night with Kevin, who still has feelings for him, despite having a child with a woman from whom he is now separated.

Moonlight really runs out of gas in the third act, as Black (Chiron) remains a completely underdeveloped character. The reconciliation, highlighted by tender feelings between two men, is simply not enough to bring the story to a fitful conclusion. Jenkins' final 30 minutes is dragged out where there are no surprises. Moonlight has quite a bit of atmosphere (particularly in the first two acts) and some raw performances (particularly by the child actors), but ultimately the denouement was not thought out clearly enough to pass muster as a film rated almost 100 by an overwhelming majority of major film critics.
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I wanted to like it, but no
MajaWisenberger8 February 2017
Reading other peoples' comments makes me a minority I believe, but there was just something that didn't win me over with Moonlight. Don't get me wrong, my favorite movie genre is drama and I really appreciate deep and artistically made coming-of-age dramas too, but I could barely contain my restlessness in these two hours. There was so little dialogue (and even if it was there, it didn't bear any importance) that it was difficult for me to get to know the characters, let alone like them or care for them. Although the plot may be relatable to some people, it just wasn't original. It felt like one cliché was followed by another.

Maybe the main problem is that I couldn't wait to watch it, I read so many brilliant reviews and eight Oscar nominations built up my expectations. Well, Moonlight in my opinion was a disappointment and even though I wanted to like it, it just didn't happen. I will still give the movie a 3 because it is not a disaster, the acting is decent and I appreciate the director didn't want to show another story of a white and privileged man. Movies with this type of message are important for our society, but I would not recommend watching this particular one.
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Waste of time
riproar-8326425 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I watched this film for two hours. Two whole hours that are gone. Forever. The film takes place in Miami. It's about a young black boy who grows up gay in a tough neighborhood. That's it. Lots of sitting on the beach. Lots of talking that doesn't go ANYWHERE. Overall, the film followed a tired format that paints a pretty bland and shallow picture about life in the "hood." Stereotypical characterization of black women. I honestly couldn't tell you the point of this film or write a more a more comprehensive summary because it's a waste of time.

Why is this up for an award? With the exception of Ali--who is a really good actor whose talent is wasted in this film--I don't get it.
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Did I miss something? This movie was unremarkable at best.
oaadger21 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I'm extremely lost as to why this movie has received so much praise. It was like watching a cake bake at 200 degrees and taking it out after 2 hours -- nothing to show for. Just a bunch of warm ingredients in a pan.

Barely any character development, and no flavor. It was set in Miami, and as a (black) Miami native (who currently lives here), I didn't get any Miami vibes. The characters did not look or act Miami (for lack of better words). This was distracting and disappointing to me. Like, what was the mother's accent??? And Theresa didn't look like a Miami hood chick at all. It annoyed the hell out of me that she had the same weave in when Chiron was 8 as when he was 16. How, Sway? Miami girls switch up their wigs and weaves weekly. They should have cast Miami natives.

Secondly, the casting of young adult Kevin & Chiron was dreadful. Chiron went from being an awkward-looking, not so attractive teenager to quite attractive eye candy as a young adult (mmm, he was fine!). Teenage Chiron had some pretty notable facial features (which added to his awkwardness) that adult Chiron bore no resemblance to. I think the awkwardness as a teen was a central part of the character's identity. I understand that he became more streetwise and confident when he moved to Atlanta, but it was also clear that he strangely remained asexual since that experience with Kevin when he was 16. That is NOT normal -- to me that screams awkward and undeveloped adult... not the sexy, full of swag young adult that Black was. The transition was too extreme and the remaining awkwardness we should have seen was no where to be found. I would have liked to see young adult Black as more average looking, and somehow exuding his more streetwise ways, *despite* his awkwardness. (And I'm sorry, the shyness did not come through as awkwardness to me.) This was very distracting and showed a complete lack of attention to casting.

Kevin went from looking kind of mixed as a kid and teenager to not at all as an adult. Disappointing choice there, too.

Let's not even talk about that horrible attempt at grey hair on the mom of adult Chiron. Why didn't they give the lady a damn wig.

As for the rest of the movie, if you're going to have a slow moving drama like this, character development is so important. I should have felt attached to the characters. Unspoken things should have made more of a punch, like Juan's death. I wasn't even sure if it was his funeral they were referring to. They could have done so much better with that. At the end of the movie, I didn't really feel anything for anyone. Except a from Trevante Rhodes. I had all the feelings for him. LOL. I could have seen more of him with his shirt off, since that was the highlight of the movie.
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In reality, "Little" happens (pun intended) but 'Moonlight' shines as a wonderful exposition of the complexity of emotions.
joshteggert28 February 2017
It is difficult to effectively display certain inner conflicts one may experience during the coming of age, but 'Moonlight' stunningly portrays three chapters in the life of a young, black boy and his struggle whilst growing up gay. Starting off with Little (Alex Hibbert); a boy who is taken under the wing of local drug dealer Juan (Mahershala Ali), followed by him as a teen, referred to as Chiron (Ashton Sanders), slowly uncovering and accepting his sexuality, then finally as a man (Trevante Rhodes), living his life begrudgingly with the burden of his troubled past. All this is then juxtaposed by a very difficult relationship with his mother, Paula, (Naomie Harris), falling in love with his best friend, and getting bullied consistently throughout school. The consequences of each prospect are dealt with astonishingly, somehow illustrating issues that have deep and dark implications with serenity and consideration. It simply is wonderful to watch.

Some have referred to this feature as "mundane". However, director Barry Jenkins displays the toughness of this boy's life with appropriate genuineness. Amongst it all, Jenkins' unquestionable artistic talent demonstrates a troubled soul who cannot grasp exactly what it is that makes him different with seamless realism. He does this through the subtle ocean imagery every time Chiron encounters something challenging, which ties the narrative together ingeniously. This, combined with an excellent screenplay by Jenkins, inspired by Tarell Alvin McCraney's play, 'In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue', results in a naturally flowing story that makes 'Moonlight' immensely powerful.

All three actors portray the main character with equal conviction, immersion and entrancing absorption; it certainly feels like an overarching story following one character, a hard task to truly pull off unless, like Richard Linklater's 'Boyhood', you use the same actor over an extended period. Ali's supporting role as the complicated, good-willed drug dealer, Juan, is indeed praiseworthy but it is Harris' performance that is most awe-inspiring. Certainly Oscar worthy, her marvellous display as Chiron's damaged, drug addicted mother is one that particularly stands out, despite the movie in itself being an incredible cinematic experience altogether. The extra layer of Juan being Paula's supplier adds further gravity to the situation, which is, to put it frankly, just one of many factors in the movie that pull delicately at your heartstrings. Jenkins successfully sustains the emotional attachment throughout, and has created an absolute serene picture; it is difficult to resist a rewatch.

Intricately and carefully crafted, 'Moonlight' truly does shine as a masterwork, conveying emotions in their utmost complexity as part of a story where, in reality, 'little' happens (pun intended). Barry Jenkins comes to the forefront as an emerging talent in directing, with the standard set so high, it is now intriguing to anticipate just what his next project, 'A Contract with God' (a three-part directed feature), will be like.
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keep your eye on Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris
A_Different_Drummer16 January 2017
The reviewer's dilemma (and it is a dilemma reviewers LOVE to encounter) is, in a superb film with superb acting all around, a superb script, and superb directing, you still need to pay special attention to those actors that, in such a competitive environment, stand out as something "extra" special.

In this mesmerizing film, special attention has to go to two actors who steal every scene they are in and silently promise the viewer that the long and bountiful careers ahead of them will deliver even better performances down the road.

I am referring first to Mahershala Ali, whose magnetic presence made him the centerpiece of Luke Cage (where he competes with, and surpasses, actors with much greater experience). If you watch this actor closely, not only is he in the moment, but his body seems to be in constant motion even when he is sitting still. Like a hummingbird. Awesome to behold and although he has been lately playing characters of "dubious morality" one gets the feeling he could play a hero just as easily.

And then there is the performance of Naomie Harris, a performance so strong and memorable that I began to recall that, in the Golden Age of films, they used to refer to performances like hers as "searing" -- but lately I have not seen the term used very often in a review.

So in honor of Ms. Harris I will say for the record that her performance in this film -- with minimal screen time -- is searing and unforgettable.

Highly recommended.
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Gattodr22 February 2017
I was very excited to see this movie, but got very disappointed with what I saw. Despite the good performance of Naomi Harris, the move is very boring for me taste. The movie is very slow and way overrated. I really don't see the deal with the performance of Mr. Ali but maybe it's just me...
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Ungodly boring
robsash30 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Without a doubt this should be at the top of the most overrated movies of 2016. I cannot believe that I managed to stay awake during this trite story that goes absolutely nowhere. Not sure what message the director was trying to convey, but it utterly lost in the unbelievably slow pace and sleep inducing dialogue. Evidently this is supposed to be a story about a young, black man who is coming to terms with being gay in the gang/drug culture of Miami. Maybe that's a good story line, but it is impossible to relate to any of the characters due to the horribly boring writing. Definitely a movie to be missed. Borderline unwatchable and certainly not deserving of an Oscar nomination.
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l am really disillusioned
gpantoli25 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I watched it cause of your hyper-critics, and deeply disagree with them.

The acting is stereotypical, insisted, and uninteresting. Characters are all obvious, and repeat themselves one generation after another. The camera doesn't dig beyond surface, and photography is shallow and uninteresting. Dialogues!? A little drama, so far the protagonist is aphasic. If l were black, l'd consider it a bad racial movie, so far those (all black) characters are depicted in polarised, mechanical way. No hope, no change. The shooting is lengthy and misses suspense. A few lyrical moments, when old time friends meet up again, are reasonably, yet obviously, good. I wasted time and money, TV has much more on offer daily
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Worst movie ever - Do they let you give negative numbers?
sonofjuliet-8833024 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I bought a pass from our local theater to see all the Oscar nominated movies for best picture this week, right before the Oscars. Moonlight was my number 5, and I was really excited about seeing it. I had no idea what it was about, like the other movies I saw already (Hidden Figures, Hell or High Water, Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge so far). I really enjoyed the other four movies so far, so I was expecting a movie on the same par as these. This movie was so bad that I created an account on here just so I could leave a review and save others the agony of seeing this piece of garbage. It was the most pretentious thing I've seen, and worst movie I've ever seen (and I saw the first 3 seconds of Two Girls One Cup). I kept waiting for it to get good. 10 minutes, 20, 30, 60, 90?! And then boom, the movie was over with no plot (of which there was none) resolution to be seen. I really don't know what it was about. I cannot fathom why this thing was nominated for anything, except for a Razzie, and now I keep wondering if Asthon Kutcher is gonna show up at the Oscars and tell the director he was punk'd for being nominated. I hate to say it, but I think the only reason it was nominated and reviewed so highly by the powers that be, is because of white guilt, and that's the simple and plain truth. Hollywood is trying to avoid the mad black actors from last year (Hi Jada S.) that were mad at there being no people of color being nominated, so this pile of crap was given its affirmative action place with some other movies that were actually well made.
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Both an exceptional and important piece of cinema
joshbarton151 February 2017
We all have our place in the world, it can just take a little longer for certain people to decide on both who and what they want to be. Our formative years play a big part in the life we choose, as do the people and environments that surround us. Barry Jenkins' Moonlight is a quite exceptional piece of cinema that explores these ideas in such a wonderful and intimate manner.

Told through three important stages of Chiron's life; the first being as a young boy nicknamed Little (Alex Hibbert), the second in his teenage years where he is actually referred to as Chiron (Ashton Sanders) and the third being in his adult years where he goes by the nickname Black (Trevante Rhodes), Moonlight depicts his journey of self-discovery and sexuality while growing up in a rough Miami neighbourhood.

Moonlight is a bold coming-of-age drama from Barry Jenkins that has an important place in today's cinema, becoming a raw and powerful film that speaks volumes in today's climate through evocative performances and a strong narrative that might seem simple upon first viewing but certainly becomes more layered when you look back on it.

The idea to split Chiron's story into three important stages of his formative years is a stroke of genius from Tarell Alvin McCraney, whose work as a playwright comes into play with the structure and feel of Moonlight. Watching Chiron's life take shape through certain events in his younger years combined with Barry Jenkins' screenplay, capturing a sense of realism, ensures Moonlight as a film that will stay with me for a while.

I mentioned the intimate manner in which Moonlight handles its subject matter and it really is one of the film's stand-out features, the close relationships that Chiron sparingly experiences and James Laxton's cinematography really honing in on this.

Coming to the performances, Moonlight is a special film with a cast who each don't get too much time to impress but they sure as hell make the most of their individual opportunities. The narrative dictates that three different actors of different ages were needed to make Moonlight work as a film, leading to Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes giving three impressive and similar performances in the lead role. Chiron is a character of very few words and they all do a lot of their talking with the looks they give to others and their facial expressions.

The supporting performances in Moonlight are the ones that are getting all the limelight however. Mahershala Ali is the favourite to walk away with the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Juan, a drug dealer who has a major impact on Chiron in his younger years. Ali is not in the film an awful lot but he left me wanting to see more of his character, which is the sign of a great performance. I loved the performance given by Naomie Harris more, who stars as Chiron's abusive mother, Paula. Harris, who is up for Best Supporting Actress, gives arguably the best performance of the film, where the drug addiction leads to her character having almost two personalities, one abusive the other nurturing, if only seen briefly.

To many Moonlight is the biggest threat to La La Land for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, easy to see why with how great a film it is. Moonlight is more than just competition for an award though, it's a lesson in acceptance and how our behaviour towards one another can be more damaging than rewarding.
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Pretentious and tedious
ship11233-15 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
If you love long drawn-out scenes with no dialogue, trite characters, and around an hour too long, then this is the film for you.

The main character lives with a junkie mom, yet always appears bandbox fresh?

The main character, is habitually, and is known for speaking slowly, or not at all! and with few words when he does. Slow doesn't begin to cover the tediousness of this habit on screen.

This is just one more message film beating one over the head... okay we get it!

Artistic? No way! Pretentious as hell.
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Excellent Character Study with Fantastic Performances
Michael_Elliott2 February 2017
Moonlight (2016)

**** (out of 4)

Extremely well-made and lyrical movie that deals with a young black man trying to survive in Miami while discovering who he is through a series of hard times. We first meet "Little" (Alex R. Hibbert) as a young kid who is discovered by a local drug dealer (Mahershala Ali) who tries to teach him some life lesson. We then meet him as a teenager (Ashton Sanders) where he is constantly being bullied while at the same time trying to learn his sexuality. Finally, in the third act, we meet him as an adult (Trevante Rhodes) and see how these earlier events have shaped his life.

MOONLIGHT is a fantastic character study and I'd argue that it's one of the most interesting ever made. I'm not saying it's one of the greatest films ever made but at the same time I would argue that it's one of the best directed and acted movies that I've seen in a very long time and the end result is something rather special. Yes, we've seen these coming of age dramas for countless decades now but this one here still manages to come across rather fresh and original.

What I loved most about the film were the performances by the three actors playing the same character at various stages of his life. A lot of movies try this and it's rare that all three are so believable in their roles that you really do feel as if you're watching one character throughout a period. All three actors really did seem to have studied each other or at least had such great direction where they were all acting the same way, with the same emotions and as the film went along you could see how the teenager was in the younger version and how these two versions played a major role on the adult.

The performances here are simply wonderful with Hibbert, Sanders and Rhodes delivering some of the finest performances of the year. The amount of emotional and realism they bring this character is something really breathtaking to watch. Ali is the real standout though as he plays a man we meet and who at first we don't know anything about him. We slowly learn about his character but the presence Ali brings to the role is something truly excellent to watch and he delivers a knock out performance. Janelle Monáe is also wonderful as his girlfriend as is Naomie Harris as the boy's mother.

Director Barry Jenkins does an extremely wonderful job at keeping the film moving along. There's a terrific visual style including the opening sequence, which just grabs you and pulls you into this world. MOONLIGHT is one of the better character studies out there and it certainly takes you on a fantastic voyage of a boy trying to learn to be himself and become a man.
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A tapestry of lyrical moments and finely wrought detail on a journey for self-identity
CineMuseFilms18 January 2017
Some films are best consumed whole while others give more joy through their fragments. For example, a holistic story with a big legacy is Brokeback Mountain (2005), the modern-day Western with two white gay cowboys as its ground-breaking heroes. Twelve years later, the remarkable film Moonlight (2016) walks into the Brokeback narrative space to echo similar themes but from the African-American experience. Rather than a big story, Moonlight is more a tapestry of lyrical moments and finely wrought detail that are best savoured piece by piece.

Unlike plot-driven stories with big dramatic events, Moonlight feels like an introspective meditation on human experience. It is framed into the three parts of a black person's search for identity: Chiron the bullied loner kid, growing into the troubled teenager, to become the self-accepting man. Along the way, his physicality transitions from vulnerability, through confusion, to defiant strength, yet at each stage he is the same kid who doesn't fit in. There are only three human anchors in his life: his unstable drug-addict mother Paul, a drug-dealing proxy father Juan, and his only friend Kevin with whom he shares his sexual awakening. He grows with few words spoken from behind a psychological shield that he carries to ease the pain of disconnectedness. The film's all-black cast takes away the focus on race; what remains is a universal lonely man on a path to gay masculinity.

The best-fit genre label for this narrative is 'coming-of-age', but this story is less about happenings and more about being and becoming. In so many scenes we are hauled in to share how Chiron physically experiences his forward propulsion. The filming style is key to its intimacy, with its close- framed detail conveying a tactile sensuality and personal connection to Chiron. The film is a swirling montage of memorable metaphors: such as Chiron's deer-like eyes reflecting terror of attacker and rescuer; a single falling tear depicting a torrent of pain; being cradled on water as a yearning for trust; his forgiving glare when Kevin betrays him; the open fingers grasping slipping sand one moment and physical pleasure the next; and his tortoise shell of heavy jewellery as a badge of machismo. Exquisite ambiguity and moral ambivalence is the colour palette of Moonlight, captured by hand-held camera-work that conveys frenzied realism and uncertainty about what is around the corner. No other recent film has such an understated narrative with such an overwhelming richness of moment and detail.

Moonlight has more in common with impressionist paintings than modern cinema. It is soft-focused and visceral. It is not about race or sexuality or masculinity, yet it takes us into those spaces to experience the film rather than just watch. It defies holistic labels and compels engagement with its fragments. You do not see this film for entertainment but to share a journey into darkness to find light.
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Disappointingly dull
drmhroberts27 February 2017
The 10 star reviews are shocking and Best Picture Oscar are shocking. I found the film tedious and dull. Nothing engaging or interesting to draw my attention away from the awful dialogue and predictable story arcs. Whilst I haven't seen any films about gay black men growing up in poverty, this film told me nothing about that struggle that I couldn't have written myself on the back of an envelope. If the academy felt compelled to give Best Picture to a film featuring actors of colour, both Hidden Figures and Lion were far more deserving.
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Not so good.
donmacd6230 December 2016
When Moonlight ended, a woman a few rows back said,"Is that it?" That was exactly what I was thinking. This movie received so many excellent reviews from critics, and awards and nominations galore, that I assumed it must be quite good. Unfortunately, I do not agree with these critics or the various award giving entities in this case. I do not think it should have ever been nominated for best picture or best director. I give it a 4 out of ten. Moonlight is not entertaining, nor is it interesting. I can only guess that they thought it was politically correct to give a movie about a bullied,gay, black teen a good review because of all the controversy surrounding the Academy Awards supposed lack of ethnic diversity. I would nominate Denzel Washington's "Fences" instead.
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Poor plot
atomasmoreno11 February 2017
The photography of this movie is more than amazing, but the plot is really poor. Slow, predictable and specially there are many issues not explained. And we do have to believe this is a nice ending? It tries to be a copycat from Boyhood and even more, from Truffaut series... This year Oscar's selection are really disappointing. Teresa and specially Blue are interesting characters and then suddenly we do not know anything else from them. Bullying in the school is so often, I suffered... buy we then wonder if he goes to a special school or what happened? Moved to Atlanta? why? when? Too many gaps. Last but not least, looks really weird that Chiron can be the same boy from 17 to the last chapter (Black). The three actors play very well but the idea of the director of not making them meet for me is wrong... too different. Solitude is a way specific feeling.
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Awful Garbage Trash of a Movie
dfarad18 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I cannot remember the last time that I got up and walked out of the movie theater but it's been decades. Well, that's exactly what I did today after stomaching about 45 minutes of this very poorly written, poorly directed, slow story of despair, desperation, and misery.

I also can't believe people are actually giving this trash of a movie good reviews.

It was depressing from the start, but I gave the movie a chance because I wanted to believe they were going somewhere with the story. I was right, they were going somewhere with the story all right.

It's a gay love story that seemed to have no purpose or meaning other than someone wanting to make a movie about a dysfunctional, drug addicted "mother/son relationship and how he grew up bullied and confused about his life and sexuality.

Both thumbs down. Horrible waste of time and money. First time I ever asked the theater management for my money back. Booooooo!!
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lemagicienbergier7 March 2017
Pure piece of propaganda, I actually believe Oscar was manipulated in the last moment and something went wrong.

I wonder why the protagonist is not also a quadriplegic and deaf. This movie confirms - Oscars are just political issue. As well as Nobel prizes and similar events.
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mtrossides3 September 2016
Told in three parts, the story of a bullied boy ('Little") growing up with a lack of love and guidance in the slums of Miami, his life as an isolated, beleaguered teenager ("Chiron") and finally his persona and relationships as a man ("Black" ).

Script, directing, acting, cinematography, music were all outstanding. The acting will blow you away.

The themes at play have rarely been given such a realistic rendering. You feel as if you are watching a real boy cope with the strange unfairness he finds at every turn. And you are grateful for the occasional kindnesses he receives. The audience I was with at Telluride LOVED it. I feel it is a masterpiece.
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