Last year, one of the more controversial moments in Oscar history transpired. Veteran actress Faye Dunaway announced La La Land as Best Picture winner, only for the latter’s director to make a (significant) correction on stage. I finally got to see Moonlight just this week. I found it a novel and touching experience. The film is split into three parts: a trio of stages in the life of Chiron. From his childhood to adolescence then, adulthood, Moonlight’s flaws were few, if at all.
The production was consistently ranked among the best films of 2017, and with good reason. I told my pal that the film explores many complex issues such as racism, bullying, homosexuality, and drugs. My buddy told me that the film ‘Probes racism in conjunction with homophobia, which makes it unique.’ To paraphrase one of the film’s stars, being black in America right now is crap, and so is being gay. To be both ‘is being at the bottom for certain people.’ The film, which Barry Jenkins helmed, looks at Chiron’s evolution through time, from his troubled childhood to his self doubt. While Moonlight unpacks many themes, Chiron’s growing up is most critical.
Mahershala Ali gives a tour de force performance as Chiron’s father figure. He sees the latter in a lot of trouble and takes him under his wing. He teaches him how to swim, educates him about black people, and provides food and shelter where Chiron’s broken mother could not. For his job title, Ali is incredibly patient when dealing with the mute ‘Little’. There are times when the first bit becomes rather sad, especially the unexpected meeting between mother and Ali. Regardless, there is great cinematography, especially the beach scene where Little learns to swim. Ali’s character seems like a godsend that’s made for movies, helping Little figure out his place in the world.
The next two chapters have very little Ali screen time, but the rest of the cast picks it up from there. The middle story is definitely the saddest, with a lot of hate and collapse. The section shows us how not to handle strife. Ultimately, make the right decision, think much, and say little. I felt for ‘Black’, as he had more than just a troubled home life. He struggles with his identity and in school. At his young age, he seemed like a toughie. This is even more apparent as he morphs into a massive hombre. He looks tough, though is still prone to nightmares. Obviously, he doesn’t want to deconstruct these dreams with his mom. He tries to forget his dark past, but even as a hulking troublemaker, remains the same, puzzled child inside.
The best one
His mother apologises to him for not being around when he needed her guidance. You could feel that he has little connection to her. At this point, we could either resent her for her absence, or forgive her sins. As you could see, sometimes it’s too late to make amends. This is true more so in real life. Meanwhile, there is a scene in the movie that’s cold hearted betrayal; actually, there are a few heavyweight scenes. The movie is well constructed and draws you with each take. I wished I saw this at the cinema, but I wasn’t aware then of what was playing. This is one gem that slipped my radar, a gem that won not a few awards. This includes the aforementioned Best Picture trophy, a Best Adapted Screenplay, and a slew of accolades for Ali. I saw Lion (starring Nicole Kidman) in January of last year and it was an excellent movie, but this is without question the best film of 2017.
***** (out of five)