By Farhan C
Every year there’s a film that comes along and completely floors audiences with great storytelling and compelling characters. In 2016, that film was Moonlight. Directed by Barry Jenkins and starring Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monae, Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes, the film focuses on the life experiences of a man named Chiron from childhood to adulthood as he tries to find his sense of identity in a rough Miami neighborhood. Of course, Moonlight has captured a lot of headlines recently for winning Best Picture at the Oscars in the most awkward way possible.
One of the key highlights of Moonlight is its performances. Both Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris were nominated for Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively, with Ali winning his award. They both play characters who have a huge impact on the life of the main character Chiron. Harris plays Chiron’s drug addicted mother who causes him a lot of pain throughout his childhood, while Ali plays a local drug dealer who serves as Chiron’s pseudo father-figure since Chiron’s real dad is nowhere to be found. In addition, the three actors that play Chiron (Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes) are all fantastic and help the story move seamlessly as Chiron ages throughout the film.
Along with its outstanding performances, Moonlight also features some incredible dialogue. There were certain scenes in this film where the character interactions were so good that the audience forgets that they’re was watching a movie. There’s a scene toward the end of the film where two characters are just talking in a diner and it’s one of the most engaging scenes in any movie ever.
Moonlight was my favorite films of 2016 and it’s more than deserving of its best picture win at the oscars this year. It’s not a film that’s filled with excitement so don’t expect that going in. Instead it’s a very well done personal story about a man trying to find his place in the world.
Final Score 9/10