Review: Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016)

Moonlight is a film that consistently upends expectations. With coming-of-age dramas, which is the easiest subgenre to slot Jenkins’ film into, too many filmmakers seem to view the maturation from child to adult as a self-contained journey with a defined point of conclusion. And this journey usually takes place in relatively little time, all things considered; in many of these films, a single event will come to define the characters’ transition, be it stumbling upon a dead body or befriending fellow misfits in detention.

Writer-director Barry Jenkins understands that forming one’s identity is not as simple as that. As such, his heartbreaking story of a young man’s struggle to find himself is told across three defining chapters in his life, each named after the moniker this ever-changing person is going by at the relevant time: child Little (Alex Hibbert), teen Chiron (Ashton Sanders) and 20-something Black (Trevante Rhodes). Three beautifully intuitive, disarmingly intimate performances come together to form a cumulative portrayal of a life’s experience – a wounded soul saddled with too much to bear…

Full review for The Skinny

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