Moonlight is one of those films you will never watch but be aware. It could show up at Oscar time. I saw it because I like to support my local theater when they run that one artsy weird flick. I want them to keep ‘em coming. Mahershala Ali as Juan is so darn good. You’ve seen him in films (he’s in Netflix’s Luke Cage - Cottonmoth) and he’s a great understated actor. He just shines in this film as the drug dealer who befriends a kid in the hood who needs guidance.
The kid is the adult Chiron (Ashton Sanders), but before that he’s Little ( Alex Hibbert) – a wide-eyed little boy who just seeks escape. When he hides out in a room, Juan finds him and takes him home. His wife, Teresa (Janelle Monae – yes, she can sing and act) feeds the kid and doesn’t ask too many questions. Little aka Chiron ultimately always seeks Juan and Teresa out as his rock. He can count on them to feed him, shelter him, and not question.
His mother, Paula, played by a heartbreaking Naomie Harris, is a druggie. Oh, she cares for her son but the drugs and that life suck her in. Meanwhile, Chiron is a sensitive kid who’s gay but just won’t acknowledge it. There’s an underlying need for love but he shoves that aside with a tough guy attitude.
Moonlight operates on many levels and it’s really well acted and touching. It might not have themes that everyone cares about, but ultimately it is about love and family and friendship and who you can count on………..that means a lot in this day and age. I truly hope it sees some Oscar nominations.