Movie #31 2020: Moonlight (2016)

Well, this certainly took me too long to watch.

You may remember Moonlight as being THAT MOVIE that La La Land beat at the Oscars. Well, if you remember it that way then you have obviously never seen it.

Put simply, this film is gorgeous.

What’s great about Moonlight is that it’s not an “LGBT movie”. It is a movie that just happens to have queer characters in it. It is a movie for everyone. So much of this movie is so heart-wrenching, and so wide-reaching, that almost anyone watching it is able to relate some aspect of their life, whether past or present, to the plight that the lead character goes through.

The entire cast is phenomenal too. Mahershala Ali famously won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, but there are so many brilliant performances here. Janelle Monae – who I didn’t actually realise was in this movie – was unexpectedly wonderful. Naomie Harris, who was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category for Moonlight, was outstanding. (She actually lost out on the award to Viola Davis however, so I can forgive that because Davis is our Lord and saviour).

Phenomenally overlooked here was Trevante Rhodes, who performed the role of adult Chiron perfectly. He wasn’t even nominated for this, despite appearing for much longer than Ali. I believe that Ali utterly deserved the credit he got, but the fact that Rhodes was passed by is such a travesty. I believed every single thing he did here; every look, every move, every word. He is excellent.

What stood out the most to me throughout this movie was the perfection achieved by cinematographer James Laxton. Now I haven’t seen La La Land (it’s not even on my watch list, truth be told), but something tells me that Moonlight‘s cinematography is much more unique than the former’s. We’ve seen twinkling, musical, purple background-filled movies before, but here we see something very original and very real. What Laxton did with this film made me all the more excited to see If Beale Street Could Talk.

The real magic behind Moonlight is that it isn’t trying to be anything it’s not. It’s not trying to win any awards. It isn’t forcing anything. The words that keep coming back to me when I try to describe this movie on the whole are organic and natural. It is a movie that feels as natural as the light of the moon bouncing off human skin.

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