Directed by Barry Jenkins
Barry Jenkins’s sophomore feature, “Moonlight”, is an honest, poignant account of the tumultuous youth of a boy as he struggles to find himself until an adult age.
The film is divided into three chapters, each of them addressing a crucial phase in the miserable existence of Chiron, a solitary soul who has to deal with the everyday bullying at school, a drug-addicted mother, and the fact of being questioning his sexuality.
The first chapter portrays Chiron’s young adolescence. At this point, he responds by the name Little (Alex Hibbert) and finds protection from his pursuers in Juan (Mahershala Ali), the crack dealer that supplies his mom (Naomie Harris). He gets an important support from Teresa (Janelle Monáe), Juan’s girlfriend, who becomes the supportive mother figure he lacks. Brief moments of happiness come from the occasional hang outs with his schoolmate, Kevin.
In the second chapter, Chiron (Ashton Sanders) grew up into a shy mid-teen who doesn’t have any motivation to study. Besides constantly annoyed by Terrel (Patrick Decile), a vile classmate and gang leader, he’s often forced to pay for his mother’s crack. His friend Kevin (Jharrel Jerome), becomes a crucial figure here since it’s with him that Chiron has his first homosexual experience. Despite the strong feelings they nurture to each other, Kevin and Chiron split up after an incident that sends the latter to jail.
The final part shows us an adult Chiron (Trevante Rhodes), now a drug dealer who adopted the nickname Black, the one that Kevin used to call him. After so many years, he will contact Kevin (André Holland) in an affectional re-encounter.
Crafted with spontaneity and solid performances, and eschewing any type of fireworks or gimmicks, “Moonlight” unequivocally interweaves the simplicity of the filmmaking with the complexity of the story.
Its social perception and human observations are of great significance for it to be considered a rewarding viewing.