Directed by: Barry Jenkins
Written by: Barry Jenkins (screenplay) and Tarrell Alvin McCraney (story)
Starring: Alex Hibbert, Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monáe, Jaden Piner, Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome, Trevante Rhodes, André Holland
Moonlight is more significant for what it epitomises than as a piece of cinema. In an improved year for recognition of African-American talent it’s a subversive counterpart to Hidden Figures and Fences, which lean on established actors and more mainstream qualities.
Nothing in Moonlight is easy; it eschews the homogenised style and convenient happy endings of much Hollywood fare for something closer to human reality. Harris and Ali (wasted in his simplistic Hidden Figures role) are revelatory embodiments of intriguing characters with problematised relationships to morality.
Yet Jenkins’ stylistic verve, particularly overbearing camerawork, can distract from the story’s human core.