If there is any film with a chance to steal the ultimate glory from ‘La La Land’ at this years Oscars it is ‘Moonlight’. The film has been adapted from the play ‘In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue’ by, only second time writer & director, Barry Jenkins. Along with fellow Best Picture nominee ‘Hidden Figures’, ‘Moonlight’ will be the last of this years nominations to hit UK cinema screens.
The film features an array of performers, many of which are the subject of a lot of the awards buzz around the picture. Supporting cast members Janelle Monáe & Mahershala Ali who play an onscreen couple are only two examples of this. Whilst only having very small roles within the film they add a lot of quality to their scenes and as a result to the film as a whole. It is however Naomie Harris who steals the show from the supporting cast in what could be a career best performance from the actresses, it is certainly the best I have ever seen her. Moving from the supporting to the leading cast, the nature of the film allows for three different lead actors, all portraying a different stage in the life of our main character Chiron. The continuity achieved between the three actors thanks to the likeness they managed to create is something else and the progression between each of these time periods therefore felt effortlessly natural. Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders & Trevante Rhodes all do wonderfully with the role, each facing different challenges that come with the different stages of life Chiron is at. By the end of the film we certainly feel like we have grown up with Chiron and much credit is due to the three actors who portray him here.
The division of the narrative into three sections was a good move allowing for a clear and accessible structure for the film although it has to be said that the film is rather slow paced. At times this worked but in other moments this became an issue. The drama included in the story in specific moments was very engaging and you felt like you were right in the centre of this with Chiron however it failed to really grip me as a whole. The subject matter focused on in the film is quite specific, it’s not immediately relatable or connectable. This is by no means a flaw, if we only watched films that we could relate to our cinemas would be a very dull place but instead it could be a reason why some might find this film hard to enjoy or appreciate.
I did appreciate ‘Moonlight’ but I didn’t necessarily overly enjoy it. There is no doubt that Jenkins has adapted this character very well and you will have a fondness for him from early on in the film, the piece looks good and he gets the most out of his entire cast. The drama is at times very enthralling but I have to conclude that this detailed character study just wasn’t for me. ‘Moonlight’ will have it’s audience and I’ve no doubt they will love it, whereas others will want something slightly more. I fall into the latter category but nonetheless can’t deny the many great elements of film-making on show here.
Rating – 7.5/10
Question: Which film do you want to win the Best Picture Oscar?
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