It’s not very often I have a film come along and completely blow me away in every aspect, I mean I do only watch a handful of films a year but nonetheless I feel Moonlight is something very very special. I can’t talk too much about the plot because it is all basically spoilers, but just know it is the journey of a young black kid and him growing up in Florida, that’s all I wish to say about the films plot without being worried about spoiling you.
Let’s start with the best aspect of the film, the characters, every character in this film, at least in my opinion, is in every aspect completely human. They are all just perfectly realistic, and the actors performances are on point, special mention goes to Naomie Harris who plays the main characters mum, the way she absolutely pins down the character and makes you get so immersed into the story is utterly phenomenal.
Cinematography is also simply amazing, the shots always reflect the atmosphere of the movie well, giving you a true atmosphere of a rundown neighborhood, the mundanity of school, a desire for revenge or a meeting with an old friend. It also oozes style, since this is very much an art film, at the very least in its visuals, every shot is just a meal for the eyes, through them expressing either emotions, atmosphere, or metaphors. It isn’t done in such a way so that it comes across as pretentious or “ooooo look at us so much meaning aren’t we smart” it feels like it was done to give the film more purpose, enhance the viewers experience even through study and deconstruction, in general it just adds to the film.
There isn’t much I can think to criticize, sometimes the music in the cars are too loud, but I am fairly sure that is deliberate, still even if it is deliberate, it still hurt my ears a bit so that is a problem, if a minor one. I think the main issue is the fact it is very much an art film, not that it comes across as confusing, but there are plenty of parts where symbolism and the directing techniques in general to very much add to the film itself, the most obvious moment of this is when the film plays “Hello Stranger” by Barbara Lewis when two friends meet after a long time apart. Okay, not exactly high symbolism but there are a lot of moments like that throughout the film, but more obscure. There is enough of that stuff I think to turn some people off the film though, if they aren’t interested in such things.
To talk of story it isn’t very complex, since it is a journey through life more then anything else, it isn’t exactly full of twists and masquerading villains. I think that’s okay though, since the characters are so good, so human and believable, yes the story is actually pretty basic, in fact it can be considered cliché on closer inspection. However that is not what Moonlight is about, it is about the journey and life of a man, of his actions, their consequences and the person he has become.
I do wish I could talk more about this film, but I really don’t think I have the ability to without spoiling it. If you are looking for a critique or a review that is tough on Moonlight, this certainly isn’t it, go find another review, even if you want to go see it, check out other ones, make sure you get varied opinions. However I can say though with all my heart that I do truly love this film, and wholeheartedly recommend you to go see it, even if you aren’t a fan of films that can be arty in parts, it’s characters more then make up for that. It is a fantastically made experience that, in my opinion, should be seen by everyone who gets the chance.