By: Dakotah Jones
Wow. I mean. . .wow. Let me start off by saying that Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight is REALLY going to give La La Land a solid run for its money in regards to Best Picture this year. Set in the ghettos of Miami, the film follows a man named Chiron through three major stages in life, childhood, adolescence and adulthood, documenting short moments that become pivotal in his development. While living with a mother that’s a crack addict, Chiron meets her dealer, Juan, who’s played by Mahershala Ali and nominated for Best Supporting Actor for the role. In an unlikely twist, Juan and his girlfriend named Teresa (played by Hidden Figures’s Janelle Monáe) takes in the young Chiron while his mother deals with her addiction. Overtime however, Chiron discovers something about himself; he’s gay.
This sets the tone for the rest of the film, while him and his childhood friend and first love, Kevin, struggle with their homosexual identities. This film is nothing short of phenomenal. From the screenplay, to the directing, to the editing to the acting; it’s really no surprise how it got a Metascore of 99 and and Rotten Tomatoes poll of 98%. It’s edgy, it’s gritty, it’s heartbreaking, it’s uplifting; a medley of feelings that erupts through different scenes throughout the film. Barry Jenkins pushed the envelope by taking a new and different look at one of films most challenging balancing acts. The acting is phenomenal, all three actors that play Chiron through his different stages of life are incredible; especially the teenage version of him. It makes the audience think; taking the harsh realities of living in an impoverished area and those psychological effects while mixing it with coping with a very “unacceptable and taboo” lifestyle in that particular environment.
The verdict: I love this film, plane and simple. Its focus isn’t on any particular thing or idea, it just simply follows the life of a man raised through challenging circumstances. The film is nominated for eight Oscars and I truly wouldn’t be surprised if it won at least half of those. Mahershala Ali deserves best supporting actor, even though he’s only in the film for a very brief period of time. Barry Jenkins is going to definitely have a fight for Best Picture, Directing, and Cinematography being that it’s up against films like La La Land and Fences. I believe it’ll win Best Adapted Screenplay, and has a very fair shot at Film Editing. All in all, I give this film a 10 /10 because I honestly can’t think of anything to change. It’s simply THAT good. It may not be for everyone, but if you want to appreciate the art of film and writing, this is the film for you.
Dakotah Jones, Opinions Editor, Junior 18’. From Brielle, New Jersey. Majoring in MOL W/ Marketing, Minor in English. Football Team, SAAC, Writing Center.