MOONLIGHT – Rated R – 1 hour 15 mins

Starring Andre Holland, Alex Hibbert, Trevante Rhodes, Mahershala Ali, Ashton Sanders, Duan Sanderson, Naomi Harris and Janelle Monae’

Brought to life by Writer and Director Barry Jenkins, we meet Chiron (Alex Hibbert), a child lost in the confusion of the drug-infested streets of 80’s Miami, and his life with his drug addicted mother Paula (Naomi Harris).

Struggling with what he is forced to endure day after day both physically and emotionally, Chiron finds refuge in a very peculiar place…at the home of Juan (Mahershala Ali) his mother’s drug dealer. Finding some sense of normalcy at last, Chiron is still lost and confused by the emotions he is feeling for his friend and confidant Kevin (Andre Holland).

Facing the destiny of his tumultuous world, Chiron embarks upon a life of dealing drugs too, as he tries to finally come to terms with his sexuality, and what his future might hold…

I give MOONLIGHT a rating between MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN and WAIT AND CATCH THIS ONE ON DVD ~ Talk about a film that will take you to depths of humanity with performances that are as REAL AND RAW as it gets, MOONLIGHT is all that, and so much more. Jenkins brings out performances from all of his actors that will touch a cord with every viewer in someway too. So with all these accolades, why the less than perfect rating? For starters, I haven’t left a film in quite a while as depressed as I was leaving MOONLIGHT. I know, I know, not every film can be a pick-me-up, but this film, even with its incredible performances, left me feeling less than stellar when it was all said and done. I also felt a sense of remorse for the African –American population as this film played out, as I felt like it exploited every stereotype that black people in our country try to get beyond. I know this film is based on the lives of both Director Barry Jenkins, and novelist Tarell McCraney, but even knowing that going in, it didn’t make me feel any better. With that being said, if you love films that are a testament to the lives that many of us are forced to live, then go check out MOONLIGHT at a theater near you this weekend. But if you don’t enjoy films that are as real as it gets, then wait and catch MOONLIGHT in the comfort of your own home, a few weeks from now…

Kathy Kaiser

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