Movies and TV Shows

‘Moonlight’ is a Coming-of-age Movie Revelation


“Moonlight” is a movie that seems to have arrived out of the blue. In reality, it’s been a long time coming. A poetic drama about growing up poor, black, and gay in an America that insists on looking anywhere but there, it’s the second feature from writer-director Barry Jenkins (“Medicine for Melancholy”) and, in its quietly radical grace, it’s a cultural watershed — a work that dismantles all the ways our media view young black men and puts in their place a series of intimate truths. You walk out feeling dazed, more whole, a little cleaner.

Extrapolated from a play by Tarell McRaney — its full title is “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” — but hewing to aspects of the director’s biography, “Moonlight” gives us one young life in three stages: the wounding, the scarring, the healing. The first panel of the triptych, set in 1980s Miami, follows a fatherless 10-year-old named Chiron (Alex Hibbert), derisively nicknamed “Little” and bullied until he has shut down into a 50-yard stare. Chiron knows he’s a “faggot”; he just doesn’t know what the word means.


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