Trespass Against Us
Directed by Barry Jenkins
Written by Barry Jenkins (screenplay) and Tarell McCraney (story)
Moonlight follows Chiron, a young black man born into unforgiving circumstances in Miami, through three specific points in his life as he struggles to find his identity and be accepted by those around him.
We meet young Chiron (nicknamed “Little”) in the first chapter of the film as a grade schooler (picked on by his classmates and neglected by his mother) as he is befriended by Juan—a good-hearted drug dealer who serves as surrogate father and role model, and who attempts to instill confidence and pride into the boy.
In chapter two, the focus is on Chiron as a high schooler struggling to stand up for himself and come to terms with his sexuality.
The closing chapter sees a physically transformed Chiron—a muscular specimen now going by “Black” and making his way by dealing—as he reunites with an old childhood friend.
The acting in the Moonlight is all top notch, authentic and real. The three actors who play Chiron over the course of the film are all uniquely fantastic—often speaking volumes with a mere look or gesture. His character is, somewhat ironically, the least showy role in the film—those parts go to Naomie Harris as Chiron’s mother, and his pal and confidant Kevin (also played strongly by three separate actors). Mahershala Ali is also excellent as Juan.
The screenplay is immensely layered and dense with social commentary, dealing with themes of identity and masculinity, as well as the lasting effects of one’s parents, mentors and the circumstances you are born into. It’s all elegantly presented, touching and poignant.
Moonlight is an enlightening and emotionally powerful coming of age tale—a truly empathizing experience and a certain Oscar contender for Best Picture, Best Screenplay and perhaps a supporting performance or two.
Artistic Value – 7 / 10
Social Value – 10 / 10
Entertainment Value – 7 / 10