Director: Barry Jenkins
Stars: Mahershala Ali, Alex R. Hibbert, Janelle Monae, Naomie Harris, Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome, Trevante Rhodes, André Holland
Based on Tarell Alvin's In Moonlight, Black Boys Look Blue, Moonlight follows Chiron throughout three phases of his life: as a kid, as a teenager, and as an adult. Through each phase, he struggles with finding his identity while dealing with his crack-addicted mother (brilliantly played by Naomie Harris).
While following Chiron’s life, the film is able to touch on other themes like mass incarceration, the school-to-prison pipeline, bullying, the drug cycle, and death. But it’s his childhood friend, Kevin, who meets him at every stage of his life, and ends up contributing heavily to the turning points.
At its core, Moonlight is a love story that shows two black men being intimate with each other in a way that’s rarely—if ever—seen on screen. James Laxton’s cinematography work also allowed black bodies to not only be seen by the camera, but illuminated in all their richness, as well. The film also showed the gritty poor side of Miami that is rarely seen, along with the quiet beauty of the city. Plus, that chopped and screwed version of Jidenna’s “Classic Man” is awesome. There’s a reason Moonlight earned the 2017 Academy Award for Best Picture.