2016 **** 111 mins.
I think Honest Trailers got it right in their Honest Trailer for the 2016 Oscars. With Moonlight, they presented an Oscar bait checklist, ultimately calling Moonlight "All the Oscar things." That it sure is. After watching this film, there was no way in hell it wasn't winning the Oscar for Best Picture. In the wake of the previous year's #OscarsSoWhite debacle, Moonlight doesn't have a single Caucasian person in the entire film. As for the film itself, it made all the correct, calculated moves so that it was destined to win Best Picture. It's not a bad film, by any stretch of the imagination. It's a very good film, in fact, telling one man's life story, from three key times in his life. All the actors involved give amazing performances. Mahershala Ali even won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. In my opinion, though, Ali isn't the highlight of the film. The three actors playing our main character are the highlights, as well as Oscar nominee Naomie Harris, as his drug addict mother. I was especially surprised at the dramatic turn it took in the story in the second half, once again, "One of the Oscar things." Honestly, the fact that it's so perfectly calculated to be an Oscar-winner is what makes me dislike the film to a point. I feel the film could have been better if it didn't try so hard.
Original theatrical aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (Digital)
Rated R for some sexuality, drug use, brief violence, and language throughout.
Tarell Alvin McCraney