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Moonlight is the story of a young gay black male in a rough Miami neighbourhood. His mother is a crack addict; he becomes friends with the guy on top of the drug chain and when he is not getting bullied at school, he spends time with his only buddy: a womaniser who our protagonist quite fancies. Spoiler alert, he will also be the first and only man that will kiss him in a long, long time. As per usual, anything goes when it comes to exploring your sexuality as a teenager.
Later on, our guy will become a criminal himself, spend some time in jail and become what his drug dealer mentor, who essentially was a good man with a not that good occupation, used to be. He will also finally come to terms with his mother, in a rehab centre, and with himself after meeting briefly with his first crush and basically starting to accept who he is.
The move is gorgeously shot: full of colours, evocative shots and able to find beauty in the less desirable situations and settings. It talks about a very old issue that oddly hasn’t been reflected upon much in this kind of products, and both the story and the visuals merge perfectly to deliver a sober, touching and beautiful piece of audiovisual art.
His strongest trait: avoids melodrama and is able to intelligently tell an unbelievably dramatically powerful story with the tone, the affection and the seriousness it deserves.
His main flaw (in the humble opinion of the writer of this article who, by the way, loved the film): it wouldn’t be crazy to frown upon some of the story beats. I.e. how can his high school love be the only guy who’s touched the protagonist considering his current life as a criminal and the fact that he’s served some time in jail? And how come his mentor’s pretty girlfriend stays as pretty as she used to be after all these years? These two examples stick out amongst others as fairly implausible dramatic developments.
Be it as it may, Moonlight does what any good movie has to: make us feel something inside while visually mesmerising us outside. And that by itself deserves an Oscar*
*This last sentence aside, the whole article has been written before the awards took place.