Chiron, the protagonist, stands in front of the ocean in home town of Miami in the movie, Moonlight.

Punya Sidhu, Feature Editor

Writer-director Barry Jenkins’ first film since 2008, Moonlight, has drawn critical acclaim from publications such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, and The New Yorker. The film follows a young boy, Chiron, who grows up in Miami, Florida, as he grows into  a man. Chiron grapples with being gay, as well as having a drug-addict for a mother. The film is segmented into three parts, one of his early childhood, one of him as a teenager, and one of his adult life.

The film, as beautiful as the cinematography was, with new takes on lighting and scenery, honestly should have been about 30 minutes long.

The story is told with many bits left out, as it jumps from Chiron as a young child, timid and shy, to a teenager, broken and struggling with his sexuality, and finally to being an adult, where he moves to Atlanta and becomes a drug dealer. The story is told with almost no dialogue. When Chiron does talk, his words are few and far between. The plot seemed to be empty, as the story seemed to end unfinished, with no resolution. This film is not one for those who get bored easily, or who can’t find the willpower to sit through a lengthy film. It seems to drag on, with little dialogue or anything real storyline. The acting is honest and raw across the entire cast, and the cinematic quality is top-tier, but many, including myself, will find themselves wondering why it had to be two hours long. It addresses issues such as drug abuse, struggling with one’s sexuality, and also shows a side of a young black man that is not often shown in Hollywood, as it shows Chiron’s life as a young boy, confused and scared, and as an adult, where he develops a rough exterior. I won’t pretend to be deep and understand the artistic message behind the film. I didn’t leave feeling any different than when I came in. Maybe I’m missing something, maybe I just don’t understand what the film was trying to make me feel, but I had high hopes, and it let me down.

The story is told mainly in a somber tone, with poignant moments throughout. The cinematography was on-point, with scenes of moonlit beaches and filming so vivid you could almost feel the saltwater breeze. The soundtrack was mainly forgettable with the exception of the opening number, Boris Gardiner’s Every N***** Is a Star. Frankly, the film is almost entirely silent with a few measly strands of dialogue thrown in every now and then.


Writer-Director: Barry Jenkins

Stars: Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monáe, Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders, André Holland, Alex R. Hibbert, Jaden Piner, Shariff Earp, Patrick Decile

Rating: R

Running Time: 1 h 50 min

Genre: Drama