How hard growing up actually is?
“Moonlight” is directed by Barry Jenkins and it is the coming of age story of Chiron, a kid from a rough neighbourhood in Miami. Firstly, this is one of the most technical films of the past couple of years, the camera work is combined so well with the fantastic script and acting that in some moments it feels as you are watching a documentary.
But how did a film so small and which came out of nowhere manage to score up so many awards and praises from both critics and the audience? By playing it smart. This film knows exactly what it wants to achieve and who it is addressed to. I don’t consider it to be an awards bait film but looking at certain elements it comes as no surprise why some people may see it as one. The period in which it premiered, the main storyline, the issues that are addressed and the way they are portrayed all make up for why this film has become so important. But all these elements work together and therefore make this film a masterpiece of today’s generation.
The story is straight-forward and simple; the focus here is Chiron’s life, more specifically, how he gets to understand and live with himself in a society who accepts the exact opposite. Jenkins decided to separate the story intro three different parts, each one showcasing a step into someone’s evolution. The first one features Chiron, as a little boy, and how he manages to get through childhood with no guidance or support. Here, he tries to cling to a father figure as he is starting to discover important aspects about his human being. The next two phases focus on adolescence and adulthood. As the boy grows up and learns how to deal with himself, the society rejects that aspect and forces him to interiorise his true nature.
Each chapter features a different actor who portrays the main character. This choice implies that every person changes as they go through the stages of human development, meaning that you become another person as you start to discover things about yourself. The film pays great attention to every detail that concerns Chiron’s life, for example: having a drug-addict mother and not having a real father figure in Chiron’s life can be observed in the last act from the way he holds a simple spoon. This film is nearly perfect, my only issue with it is that on a second viewing certain elements will lose some of their impact, but other than that the film is flawless.
From my point of view, there are four scenes that have the biggest impact on the story: the dinner and the beach scene from the first act, the beach one from the second act and the last one in which he wakes up in the third act. The latter is linked to the one in the second act and it is, in my opinion, the most moving scene in the whole film and at the same time the easiest one to miss.
In the end, “Moonlight” is definitely one of the last year’s best films because of its unique storytelling which offers you a fresh cinematic experience by taking a break from the blockbuster Hollywood-type films. I regard this film as a classic already but with all that in mind I don’t see myself re-watching this anytime soon. The picture has a big emotional load and I consider that only watching it once will make you as a viewer able to fully appreciate it.