A moving, transcendent, award-winning look at 3 defining chapters in the life of Chiron, a young man growing up in Miami. His epic journey to adulthood, as a shy outsider dealing with difficult circumstances, is guided by support, empathy and love from the most unexpected places.
I actually love the double meaning of how the tagline describes this movie: “This is the story of a lifetime.” The official summary covers the premise pretty well, aside from any direct reference to Chiron’s sexuality. (Which is only, like, integral to the entire plot, but OK.) And, of course, Moonlight famously won the Oscar for Best Picture earlier this year after an announcement mixup with La La Land.
Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes as Chiron
I wasn’t previously familiar with any of the actors portraying Chiron (Moonlight is the biggest credit for each so far), but I’m paying attention now because they were all phenomenal. As the film progressed, I went from wanting to protect Chiron during his turbulent childhood, to having my heart break for him as a bullied teen — and continue to break for the hardened adult that he becomes.
Mahershala Ali as Juan
Charismatic and caring, it’s impossible not to fall a little in love with Juan (and also Mahershala Ali).
Naomie Harris as Paula
It’s easy to fault Chiron’s mother for her parenting skills — which I was certainly guilty of — but she’s broken, too. Which doesn’t absolve her shortcomings, but how could anyone not feel affected by Naomie Harris’ devastating performance?
Janelle Monáe as Teresa
Between this and Hidden Figures, it’s kind of mind-blowing that acting isn’t her main gig — and that these were her first live-action films ever. JANELLE MONÁE FOR EVERYTHING.
Couch-Sharing Capability: High
Obvs, I’m not suggesting this if you’re in the mood for rollicking fun times, but this movie is ultimately about love. So why not watch it with the ones that you love? (It’s great with or without company, though.)
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Low(ish)
Alcohol isn’t necessary to enjoy the movie — even if a little liquid courage could help you get through some painful scenes — but pop open a bottle or three in celebration of it anyway.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Excellent
Look, as someone who’s fallen asleep during a lot of critically acclaimed movies, I’m always a bit wary of TEH HYPE. But Moonlight is completely worthy of it and then some. Even in its quieter moments — aka danger zone for narcoleptic attention spans — I couldn’t help but appreciate how gorgeous everything looks, despite the decidedly non-gorgeous setting. The visuals, the score, the acting — there’s beauty permeating every aspect of the film. Most of all, there’s beauty in exploring experiences rarely depicted in film. And in moonlight, everything looks a little more beautiful.