Thursday, February 2, 2017

Moonlight

Without even watching a trailer or reading a synopsis of what Moonlight was about before I eventually saw it, I had the advantage of going into the film with little pretense of what to expect. Looking back at this now, I am so relieved that I decided not to read up on the film much before, as it allowed the film to completely take me by surprise, resulting in one of the most poignant and moving film experiences I’ve had to date.

Over the years I have come to understand that I have an obvious propensity for films with raw, real and moving performances. It’s no wonder then that I regard the intense and brilliant performances by Moonlight’s actors as the crowning achievement of this film. I can count at least 3 scenes in Moonlight where I was so engrossed in the on-screen interactions that I momentarily forgot that I was in a movie theatre. To try and describe these scenes in individual detail will not however do anyone any good – you simply need to experience them for yourself.

Every scene is deeply meaningful and moving, without exception.

Except for the jaw-dropping performances from Moonlight’s stellar ensemble cast, it’s also important to highlight the film’s beautiful cinematography and genius pacing. The combination of these two elements results in a gorgeously patient film that tells an agonising life story spanning across 3 different points in time. In the hands of a less skilled director, such a fragmented chronology would have been the demise of the film, but Barry Jenkins manages to weave together these individual strands into a rich cinematic tapestry that leaves one deeply affected.

"In the hands of a less skilled director, such a fragmented chronology would have been the demise of the film, but Barry Jenkins manages to weave together these individual strands into a rich cinematic tapestry that leaves one deeply affected."


This is not even to mention how important and daring of a film Moonlight is and I praise it for its considered, but raw approach to highlighting the untold plight that many racial and sexual minorities still face today. Even though we live in a time where these minority groups enjoy the highest degree of freedom ever, the deeply-rooted stereotypes and conventions of society still prevent many from living their lives to their full potential.

The film highlights an important, but unsettling problem that not everyone might be ready to face, but Jenkins and his cast highlights it in such a deeply authentic and moving way, that it’s impossible to claim ignorance any longer. A film with a powerful story, told in a heart-rending, but beautifully respectful way – truly, film making at its best. 

Highlight: The film's emotionally poignant final scene still haunts my memories, months after I saw it.