Moonlight is a hard hitting drama that tells the story of Chiron, a young child living in a rough neighbourhood in Miami, and his troubled rise to adulthood and his challenges along the way. Whilst the subject matter is both intricate and a breathtaking spectacle at the same time, the three act structure is ultimately it’s biggest strength and also it’s greatest weakness.
The first two Acts are fast, furious and full of dramatic performances. Whether it be the excellent Juan (Mahershala Ali) helping Chiron through his first stage of life or the shocking scenes with his Mum (Naomie Harris), both Acts are an incredibly dramatic watch and really hammer home the true hardship that Chiron has had to endure growing up.
Whilst the story touches on homosexuality with an intimate scene between two characters, the actual relationship between the two never fully blossoms and when the third Act rolls round, it almost feels like the rollercoaster of emotions that had come before, can’t quite propel it to the same dizzying heights the first two Acts hit.
That’s not to say Moonlight is a poor film, quite the opposite, it’s a culturally important film that deserves its Best Picture Oscar for its commentary on the world we live in and treading ground few have dared to go. The film is beautifully shot with some amazing orchestral music to elevate the scenes. The close-ups of Chiron in particular are a great touch in each stage of his life but even with all this in mind, I can’t help but feel the third Act, showing Chiron as an adult, would have benefited from being a little quicker in pace as it does drag at times.
Overall, Moonlight is a great film, held back by a few pacing problems that ends the film on a whimper rather than a roar. Well worth a watch though.