Forging the cinematic identity of Miami through stories that “go beyond the typical portrayal of a beautiful but vapid party town.”, MOONLIGHT is a masterpiece triptych of one boy’s story.
Featuring a trio of gifted actors, Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes, inhabiting a single character, Chiron, MOONLIGHT tells the story of one young man’s coming of age in a tough Miami neighbourhood.
We first meet Chiron as an uncertain and tentative boy known as “Little”. Picked upon by his peers and neglected by his crack addled mother. Ironically, Little is rescued from his persecuting peers by Juan, the drug dealer who supplies his mother. He takes Little home to his girlfriend, Teresa, and teaches him to swim, and instils a sense of self pride.
The second act finds Chiron a bullied teenager grappling with his sexuality. Tenderness and violence, retaliation and repercussion, bleeds into the final chapter where Chiron, now known as “Black” a grown man, deals drugs in Georgia.
MOONLIGHT also features a stunning supporting ensemble, including Naomie Harris — playing with tough, impassioned grace a crack addicted single mother trying to raise her young son amid tempestuous personal struggles — and Mahershala Ali as the indelible early mentor, Juan. Both these actors have been nominated for Academy Awards for their performances, part of the eight Oscar haul of nominations the film has earned.
MOONLIGHT has been nominated for Best Picture and Best Director, Barry Jenkins, who, in cahoots with his cameraman, James Laxton, also nominated, creates an eloquent lensing as the camera choreographs around its subjects, whether it be the dizzying dance of the carousel or the shaky subjective pursuit of people or a ball.
Jenkins is also up for Best Adapted Screenplay, fashioned from a story by Tarell Alvin McCraney.
Rounding out the eight nominations are Best Film Editing, Nat Sanders & Joi McMillon, and Best Original Score, Nicholas Britell.
With all its integrated facets, MOONLIGHT is an authentically moving experience that is powerful, poignant and quietly passionate.