THE WEBER MOVIE COUNTDOWN

THE GOAL FOR 2018: 200 MOVIES WATCHED BY MIDNIGHT NEW YEAR'S EVE!  (AFTER TOPPING OUT AT 194 in 2017)

CAN HE DO IT?

​​THE WEBER MOVIE COUNTDOWN

#36 MOONLIGHT





And we wrap up our 2016 Best Picture nominees with Moonlight. I struggle to categorize this film. On the surface it appears to be the story of Chiron in three episodes. We first meet him in elementary school in Miami, where his mother (Naomie Harris) is falling deeper and deeper into addiction. Chiron (Alex Hibbert) finds comfort, support and love from Juan and Theresa (Mahershalia Ali and Janelle Monae). Thing is, Juan is a drug dealer. And everything lacking at home is truly with Juan and Theresa - stability, hot meals, and a father figure. We jump to the next episode where Chiron is now a teenager (and now played by Ashton Sanders). Juan is dead, his mother is hopelessly addicted to crack and he's dealing with bullying as well as his own sexuality, as he and his only friend Kevin share an encounter. Finally we see Chiron as an adult (Trevante Rhodes). He's moved to Atlanta and become a drug dealer like his long-gone mentor. He returns to Miami to see his mother in rehab and also to look up Kevin, who he hasn't seen in many years. Multiple actors play Chiron as well as Kevin but the work here is seamless - you never doubt for a second that these actors are playing the same person. Naomie Harris is vivid as his mother - the first time we meet her she is more of a caring, worried mother than the crack demon she will become later. That one scene juxtapositioned with her coming scenes makes her rapid descent all the more heartbreaking. Mahershalia Ali's presence as Juan looms over the entire film even when his character has died (we never find out why or how, but we can imagine). Is Moonlight a coming of age movie? Is this a slice of life film? It's a bit of everything. Director Barry Jenkins has crafted something immensely personal, unique and unexpected. There's a lot of truth on the screen that rarely is captured on film. Definitely recommended. #36 of 2017


NOTE: Won 2016 Best Picture Oscar

TLA one-word review: heartbreaking