Although it’s not as impacting as it could have been, Moonlight is still a moving and emotional drama with fantastic performances and gorgeous cinematography.
Nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, Moonlight is the film that may take home those golden statues instead of race leader La La Land.
The Academy Awards love an underdog and this coming-of-age story about a young black man struggling to find his place in the world will certainly appeal to Academy members, and thankfully it does deserve the awards buzz as well as some golden gongs.
The first thing that will strike you whilst watching Moonlight is just how stunning it looks on the screen.
Cinematographer James Laxton and colourist Alex Bickel bathe shadowy corners and dark rooms in a gorgeous yet soft glow that immediately makes the scenes moody and vivid.
Avoiding the cliché flashy style, dark and rich colours are covered in a blueish hue in an understated manner resulting in the film being visually immersive.
The haunting soundtrack also absorbs you with its wonderful fusion of classical music and hip-hop which adds to the gloomy yet captivating tone.
Unfortunately for the film though the storyline is nowhere near as engaging or interesting.
Based on the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney, director Barry Jenkins and McCraney drew on their own experiences growing up as black men in America when writing the screenplay for the film adaptation.
This makes the film very personal and this comes across whilst watching it.
Intimate, emotional and moving the film will make you smile and weep, but it does severely lack much needed power and drama.
There is nothing wrong with its quiet nature and the fact that you are left wanting to know more of the story is a genius trick played by Jenkins.
However, it is just too shy as you will be left bored by the many, many scenes which have nothing much going on.
Split up into three chapters we follow lead character Chiron who is portrayed by three different actors, each one taking on a different stage of his life.
The performances given by each of the actors, Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes, are all phenomenal as each one shows a new vulnerability and side to Chiron.
It is rather unique to have a situation where no actor outshines the other but all three work together fantastically to bring to life our complicated protagonist.
The rest of the cast also give excellent performances including Naomi Harris and Mahershala Ali.
If the story just had more power and impact Moonlight would have easily been one of the best films of the year as it certainly has some of the best performances, soundtrack and cinematography.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.