Film Review: MOONLIGHT (USA 2016) ***

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MOONLIGHT (USA 2016) ***
Directed by Barry Jenkins

Starring: Mahershala Ali, Shariff Earp, Duan’Sandy’ Sanderson

Review by Gilbert Seah

MOONLIGHT is one of the most talked about African American films screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. It has garnered rave reviews based on its raw content and originality. And indeed, this film deserves all accolades.

MOONLIGHT is Barry Jenkins’ second feature after MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY.

It is s very strange feature, low-budget, very originally told (in three parts; each part titled by each of the three names the protagonist is given) of the life of Little or Chiron or Black from childhood to adulthood. His real name is Chiron, but is called Little in school due to his small stature. Little is ‘adopted’ by a local thug and his girlfriend when he is not living with his drug addicted mother.

Bullied and beaten up frequently because of his small stature and curly hair (he looks very much like a girl), Little cannot take it anymore and is arrested after he finally breaks a chair over his bully right in the middle of a class. The scene deserves quiet cheers.

Little grows up, surprisingly into a big muscled guy and meets back with his school buddy who gave him the nickname of Black. He obviously had the thug of his childhood as his mentor. Kevin and Black have a gay sex encounter which Black can never forget.

Jenkins’ film feels like it is all over the place though it is obvious he is leading his audience somewhere. One good thing about Jenkins film is that you never know where he is leading the audience. Though slow moving at times, Jenkins film is never boring and a compelling watch for start to end when the audience finally figures out the purpose of MOONLIGHT.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fYFIj16YC0

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