Moonlight (2016)
November 10, 2016 10:56 PM - Subscribe

A timeless story of human connection and self-discovery, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.
posted by Pizzarina Sbarro (24 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I can only relate to the "closeted gay adolescent" aspect of the movie, and I basically just cried for a good 2/3 of the running time. The acting was all superb, and in my opinion Ashton Sanders (teenage Chiron) gave a standout performance.

Even the (relatively) happy ending left me completely bereft... you could read it as Kevin and Chiron holding each other, happily reunited, or as someone who is broken but putting himself back together (Kevin) being clung to by Chiron, whose entire life/self/sexuality has been shattered by his upbringing. The progression of Chiron's relationship with his mother also rang very true to me.

Just a masterful, incredibly affecting film.
posted by Pizzarina Sbarro at 11:14 PM on November 10, 2016 [7 favorites]

I loved the slightly surreal feel of the movie, aided by the beautiful and adventurous cinematography.
And I liked how it doesn't lead the viewer by the hand--major plot points that take place in between the three "parts" are mentioned only in passing, and I was totally fooled into thinking one important scene was part of a dream sequence for quite a while.
The actress who plays the mom better get a supporting actress Oscar nod. I also loved the complex surrogate dad figure (although it took me a second to stop seeing him as Remy from House of Cards). And I thought Andre Holland was great as Kevin.
posted by loquacious crouton at 4:57 PM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

This was one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen. I can't believe this and Arrival came out at the same time - they are the two best movies I've seen in so many years.

It was hard to watch this post-election. I am already so gutted, this was so much more gutting. But I was in awe of the care, beauty and respect that every character, every actor, every shot got in this film. A masterwork.
posted by latkes at 10:52 AM on November 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Part I - You don't need to know who you are
Part II - Other people will try to figure you out for you
Part III - The ones you love help define who you are
posted by Become A Silhouette at 8:53 PM on November 16, 2016 [11 favorites]

If you haven't seen it yet, I recommend Barry Jenkins's previous feature film, Medicine for Melancholy.
posted by larrybob at 12:31 PM on November 21, 2016 [3 favorites]

Saw this last night in a theater with only four other people in it, and I was by myself, so it was a very lonely and kind of surreal experience.

I didn't find this as eviscerating as I was afraid I would; there's enough hope in the ending even if it is ambiguous. In that, and in the way that it's about carrying yourself forward, it has more than a few similarities with Arrival. (I found both movies very beautiful, but both of them also hollowed me out.)

This is very stupid, but I did learn something about fronts, too - for whatever reason, I didn't realise that they were removable, so I found the scene where Chiron removes his very informative.
posted by minsies at 6:28 AM on November 23, 2016

A good article about the light, color, and film quality in Moonlight here.

I haven't seen Medicine for Melancholy yet... On my list!
posted by latkes at 4:08 PM on November 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

Also a profile of production designer Hannah Beachler who worked on Moonlight as well as Lemonade, Fruitvale Station, and Creed.
posted by latkes at 4:15 PM on November 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

Thank you for linking that profile, latkes!
posted by minsies at 7:39 PM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh, hello!

I just got back from seeing this, and came to see if it was here.

Holy mackerel, this movie is amazing. I really love the subtlety, the restraint, and the lack of explicit exposition, the kind of low key way that the story advances, paired with the almost fantastical cinematography. The saturated colors, the frantic, confused, up close, chaos scenes, the color shifts, the contrast, the shifts in the focus, man, this was definitely a movie that deserves a 50 foot screen.

And the acting was extraordinary. The three Kevins in particular really impressed me. The mannerisms and demeanor of the three Chirons were a little more obvious to me, but I couldn't even figure out what the three actors playing Kevin were doing to make them seem so Kevin-ey. Whatever it was, though, at least two of those guys were absolutely masterful at it.

Everything just came together so beautifully.

I'd never even heard of Barry Jenkins before this movie started getting buzz, so I'm really looking forward to seeing his previous feature now, and all the future ones later.
posted by ernielundquist at 5:17 PM on December 1, 2016 [6 favorites]

Finally saw this, and the overriding word that comes to mind to describe it is tender. Not just tender as in gentle, though it is that in many parts, but tender as in a bruise, or a healing injury.

The performances were all so compelling, even with so little said. I found teenage Chiron and Trevante Rhodes especially riveting.
posted by yasaman at 10:07 PM on January 16, 2017 [7 favorites]

This movie has so much to say about black identity and about growing up gay, two things that get notoriously short shrift in American film. But what's stunning about the film is that far from it having carved out a specific niche, it can serve as a far-reaching, in-depth statement on either. And the palpable suffering and anxiety Chiron felt as a young person so uncomfortable in his skin, he'd rip it from his body if he could? That was universal.

Just stunning. I both recognized myself and got windows into worlds completely different from mine.

Bravo. Just... bravo.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:32 AM on February 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

This was a wonderful movie. It deserves every accolade it receives (or is nominated for). The acting was just sublime.
posted by h00py at 5:35 PM on February 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

What in the actual fuck just happened at the Oscars?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:12 PM on February 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

Moonlight received a most deserved award, just after this happened.
posted by h00py at 5:07 AM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm all for Moonlight winning. In the strongest possible terms. It's one of the best movies of the last twenty years, let alone last year.

But that was bananas.

If you've always wanted to work at PricewaterhouseCoopers, now is your chance, as there are most def some job openings there this morning.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:50 AM on February 27, 2017

I finally saw this last night (it's only recently come out in the UK). Besides the obvious, the score really stood out to me, and I found this article on it worthwhile: Violins, Chopped and Screwed
posted by Gordafarin at 6:59 AM on February 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

That article is fascinating, Gordafarin. Thanks for that.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:51 AM on February 27, 2017

A bit of trivia from the Wikipedia article: "Because the film's screenplay was based on a play that had not previously been produced or published, different awards have had different rules about whether it qualified in the original or adapted screenplay categories. It was classified as an original screenplay by both the Writers Guild of America Awards and the BAFTAs, but was ruled as an adapted screenplay according to Academy Award rules."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:33 PM on February 27, 2017

I finally saw this, and I agree with everything you-all said. It's just stunning in every respect. The colors and mood -- the way the ocean and the setting and that wind are almost characters. The jaw-droppingly gorgeous score, which I need a copy of immediately. And yeah, the performances and characters are so specific and detailed and utterly non-generic while at the same time being so completely effortless to relate to, I can't get over it. I have this mad urge to hunt down Chiron wherever he may be at whatever age and nurture the fuck out of him, like a devoted older sister.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:48 PM on March 27, 2017

Outstanding. Tell me I'm not the only one who cried throughout?
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:07 PM on April 3, 2017 [1 favorite]


My only complaint is that the use Caetano Veloso’s version of “Cucurrucu Paloma” felt like a clear bit of biting on Talk To Her. But then, I also really liked its use here, so who cares.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:35 PM on April 15, 2017

It’s also surprising to me that it won the Oscar simply because it is a small and beautiful movie, and I think of the Oscars as liking movies that are big, with big emotions. But everything here is tiny. Even the smashing of the chair, with the frame-rate playing at double speed, is tiny, a small explosion with huge impacts, but hardly a gunshot or a stabbing.

I can’t re-watch big movies; they are one-and-done experiences that take too much time. I could rewatch this any day.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:40 PM on April 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I did not expect to be so moved by this, having only Florida in common. It captured the feel - not just the look, but the emotional affects of the environment.

The shitty two-story block-and-stucco apartments, in pastel colors. Running around on the grass tackling each other - we called that game smear the queer. The hot heavy wind that brings no relief. Going to the beach because the beach is just there. The school that looks like a prison that looks like a school. A restaurant that serves ropa vieja and platanos maduros y arroz amarillo.

Coming back and seeing someone from the neighborhood, who says "this isn't you," and thinking well, it's been a long time since you knew me, if you knew me.

I really liked this movie.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:19 PM on May 13, 2018

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