MOONLIGHT THING OF RARE BEAUTY

Comment News (Gosnells) - - Lifestyle -

THERE are pre­cious few films nowa­days that aim for sub­tlety, take their time to ob­serve hu­man be­hav­iour and get to the core of their char­ac­ters with pa­tient ex­plo­ration.

Moonlight is one of those films that come along ev­ery few years that, after we have been fa­tigued with hy­per-edited ac­tion films and flat­u­lence­laden Adam San­dler films, re­mind us of the art and beauty of cin­ema and what it can achieve.

The life of con­fused, dis­con­nected Mi­ami slum res­i­dent Ch­i­ron is bro­ken up into three chap­ters – child, teenager and adult – in which he is bullied by school kids, shown kind­ness by crack-dealer Juan (Ma­her­shala Ali) and strug­gles with his ne­glect­ful drug-ad­dicted mother (Naomie Har­ris) and his own sex­u­al­ity.

At each age he has an en­counter with Kevin, which high­lights his dis­ori­en­ta­tion about his sex­u­al­ity and mas­culin­ity.

De­lib­er­ately paced, ad­mirably pa­tient, sen­si­tively han­dled and stun­ningly re­alised, Moonlight is a thing of rare beauty.

De­spite sur­face level sim­i­lar­i­ties to Boyz n the Hood (1991) and Me­nace II So­ci­ety (1993), there are sev­eral ideas and themes run­ning through­out that takes it in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion.

The most fas­ci­nat­ing as­pect is wit­ness­ing how a soft and sen­si­tive boy grow­ing up in a thug­gish part of town where you are ex­pected to be tough to sur­vive grap­ples with his own iden­tity and sit­u­a­tion.

The ac­tors play­ing Ch­i­ron at the three dif­fer­ent stages of his life turn in phe­nom­e­nal per­for­mances, as do their sup­port­ing cast mates.

Re­leased dur­ing Os­car sea­son (it re­cently got eight nom­i­na­tions), it will likely be sev­eral months at least be­fore we see an­other film with such con­fi­dence in sto­ry­telling, vi­sion and, most im­por­tantly, heart.

Alex Hib­bert and Ma­her­shala Ali in Moonlight.

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