Film Review: Moonlight


[4/5]

In association with Glasgow Film Theatre

Nominated for Best Picture for this year’s Oscars, Moonlight is a beautiful cinematic experience. The film follows Chiron (Alex R Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes) a young boy navigating through life despite the many struggles he faces. Director Barry Jenkins explores Chiron’s multiple identities and themes like toxic masculinity, same-gender attraction and blackness with a special kind of care. Although filled with silences, every frame in the film is overwhelming in its ability to showcase raw emotions.

From his childhood until his more mature age, what characterises Chiron’s journey is isolation. With an abusive mother struggling with addiction and the sudden loss of his mentor figure Juan (played by an extremely talented Mahershala Ali), the protagonist finds it hard to connect emotionally with others and show any vulnerability. The only exception is his relationship with Kevin, Chiron’s childhood friend. Their friendship becomes more intimate in their teenage years, and crosses the line to become a tragic love story in their adulthood. The subtle moments they share together and Chiron’s final confession towards the end of the film haunt the viewers in the most powerful way even after the credits start rolling.

 

Moonlight isn’t only beautiful, however, but also incredibly important in this cultural moment for the messages it sends and the issues it explores. After last year’s critiques to the Academy Awards for being poorly diverse, this film is almost anti-Hollywood in its concept and realization. At its core, Moonlight is an ode to self-love and self-realization. This coming-of-age film is different from many others before it and its realism and its intensity are what makes it stand out. Moonlight is what Boyhood tried to be and failed, it’s a film that doesn’t rely on the script or the incredible cinematography like so many other movies recently. What makes Moonlight special is how it manages to make one emotional with every glance.

[Luigi Gravili]

The film will be screened at Glasgow Film Theatre until the 15th of February (Scottish Preview) and from the 27th of February until the 2nd of March. Tickets available here.

 

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