Moonlight - Barney's Incorrect Five Second Reviews

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Moonlight - Barney's Incorrect Five Second Reviews

I'm not sure where to even start with this one. There are so many scenes done in such a unique way that I haven't seen before. It's a tough movie to talk about since I went in not knowing a single thing other than the title, so I wouldn't want to spoil any plot surprises. 

It's weird that I saw this in the same year I saw Closet Monster because this is the perfected version of the other. 

It is almost as good as Boyhood and follows the same idea of a young man finding himself over various stages of his life (but this time with different actors). Speaking of which there are so many incredible performances, it's tough to single out specific ones. Alex Hibbert playing young Little is amazing, as are many others. 

Honestly guys, I think this is one of the very best movies of the year. I need someone else to see it to discuss the ending with me. I'm not sure I've ever yearned this badly for an epilogue before.

You know how Grand Theft Auto IV tried to offer some skin-deep insight into the modern-day African-American experience through Franklin? Well... Moonlight will take you 100 fathoms deeper, to put it lightly. You will feel it. 

Highly recommended. Get ready to be challenged. 

 

Heart rating: 5 stars (it just doesn't get better than this for moving you)

Brain rating: 4.5 stars

There Will Be Games

Editor review

1 reviews

(Updated: May 22, 2018)
Overall rating 
 
4.8
Heart 
 
5.0
Brain 
 
4.5

Summary

Movie Title
Moonlight
I'm not sure where to even start with this one. There are so many scenes done in such a unique way that I haven't seen before. It's a tough movie to talk about since I went in not knowing a single thing other than the title, so I wouldn't want to spoil any plot surprises.
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Vlad's Avatar
Vlad replied the topic: #238113 11 Nov 2016 17:05
Thanks for your review! How is the cinematography on this one, is it a theater must-see or can wait till DVD?
Black Barney's Avatar
Black Barney replied the topic: #238115 11 Nov 2016 17:12
Ugh... I hate to say that you don't HAVE to see it on the big screen but it's true. This isn't Hell or High Water which needs the big screen. It's more that, do you want to put off seeing potentially the best movie of the year?

I picked seeing this over Arrival. That was a difficult decision.
Vlad's Avatar
Vlad replied the topic: #238130 11 Nov 2016 19:21
Your honesty is very appreciated here :)
This sounds like a typical movie I'd DVD or even cinema-watch with the hype of the Oscars OR catch up years later, wondering why on earth I was watching all the garbage I watched in 2016 instead of this. Just to name a few, this happened to me with Boyhood, Spotlight, The Room and The Wrestler... I only feel ashamed about The Wrestler.
CranBerries's Avatar
CranBerries replied the topic: #238150 12 Nov 2016 01:43

This isn't Hell or High Water which needs the big screen


Oh crap, HoHW just left our budget theater. I kind of assumed it was character driven and not a real cinematography movie. Oh well.
Black Barney's Avatar
Black Barney replied the topic: #238161 12 Nov 2016 09:59
Oh no!! Yeah, it’s gorgeous on the big screen, really beautiful.
Grudunza's Avatar
Grudunza replied the topic: #239701 02 Dec 2016 23:04
Just saw it. Barney, you're absolutely right about the unique imagery. The way that perspective and music and focus is used in some parts is brilliant and affecting. However, I only loved the first two acts and not the third.

The whole thing is verrrrrry slow paced, and for me that worked well enough in the first two parts, but really didn't in the third. Those first two acts had some real moments of poignance, but the third just kind of happened, and very slowly at that. I get that it was probably more real that way, but there is a point where very slow pacing in a movie is not giving you some kind of purpose, but just feels slow. Hard to say more without spoiling things. I was primed for something bigger to pay off emotionally in the third act, as it had at times earlier, but it just didn't for me, though the end was nice. In this case, I appreciated the destination of the third act, but not the journey.

On the whole, Boyhood was more interesting and meaningful, though this had its own very interesting nature and meaning, for the most part.
Black Barney's Avatar
Black Barney replied the topic: #239702 02 Dec 2016 23:37
If Boyhood didn't exist, this movie would be absolutely insane. It's so easy to draw parallels.

Still, I think and hope it gets respect come Oscar. I agree with you Act III is weakest but that doesn't take away from how perfectly amazing those first acts are! It's still a crazy good film.

So glad you saw it!

So is Sing Street still your favourite so far? More than this?!
Grudunza's Avatar
Grudunza replied the topic: #239703 03 Dec 2016 00:09
Yeah, Sing Street and Captain Fantastic are fighting it out in my mind at the moment. Still some contenders coming up, though.

Much respect for Moonlight, but it didn't stick the landing.
Black Barney's Avatar
Black Barney replied the topic: #239740 04 Dec 2016 09:53
I don't think I'm going to get to see cpt fantastic :( it's that good?
Grudunza's Avatar
Grudunza replied the topic: #239759 04 Dec 2016 13:53
You didn't see my comments about it in the Movie thread a couple weeks ago? I LOVED it. Watched it twice in two days. A ton of deep resonance and relevance to me and my family. And that may be totally subjective. I know a lot of people who loved it, but some who hated it. My observation on the haters, though, is that they focused on the trees and not the forest. I don't want to get much more into that again (see the other thread).

Why can't you see it, though? Do you have Redbox in Canada? Should be there. Or on iTunes, etc.
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Grudunza replied the topic: #239760 04 Dec 2016 13:59
Also, going back to Moonlight, it's an easy lock for some Oscar noms. I predict Best Picture, Best Director and supporting actors for Mahershala Ali and/or Andre Holland. I think the Director could win, and possibly one of the actors.
Grudunza's Avatar
Grudunza replied the topic: #239762 04 Dec 2016 14:27
By contrast, though I personally like them better, I don't expect Sing Street or Captain Fantastic to get Best Picture nods. Maaaaaaybe Captain Fantastic, though I doubt it. But I will be disappointed if one of the Sing Street songs (esp. "Drive It Like You Stole It") isn't nominated for Best Song, and I think Viggo Mortensen has a shot at a Best Actor nomination.
Vlad's Avatar
Vlad replied the topic: #239773 04 Dec 2016 16:26
I liked Sing Street a lot.
Because it was like remembering my teenage years the way I wanted to remember them and not the way it actually happened.
CranBerries's Avatar
CranBerries replied the topic: #240739 16 Dec 2016 00:32

Vlad wrote: I liked Sing Street a lot.
Because it was like remembering my teenage years the way I wanted to remember them and not the way it actually happened.


This. I make all kinds of references to great music from my childhood, but I'm listening to it retroactively, because at the time I just listened to crap.

This was a fun, joyous movie.
Frohike's Avatar
Frohike replied the topic: #255398 09 Oct 2017 18:35
I just watched this without any context, aside from seeing it on my Amazon feed.

What a stunning, deeply affecting film for me.

Then I read all of the critical kerfuffle around it and shook my head. It's less than two hours long, so I don't understand the complaints about pacing. It does just as much with that time as any Terrence Malick film but with more character depth, in my opinion. The direction doesn't rely on melodrama in the dialog to invest the viewer but instead seems to meet us half way, expecting us to inhabit these silent, resolute spaces in character's scenes with our own realization of the full social context, or even spiritual context in some places. It replaces the dramatic arc with a contemplative arc, something I don't see very often in contemporary film, unless it's narrated with a loosely parallel voice-over such as Malick or Wenders are prone to do.

Anyway, great film and great review. I've rewatched it now and my opinion stands. This fully deserved its nomination & awards.
Black Barney's Avatar
Black Barney replied the topic: #255407 09 Oct 2017 20:38
I think if the film hadn't won or even hadn't been nominated, I think it would have been much better received by the masses.

Anyway what an amazing movie, glad you liked it.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #255409 09 Oct 2017 23:51
The best acting moment of the year was in that film. When Little reveals to Juan what his home life is like and Mahershala Ali, as Juan, shows that impact settle in on his face as he realizes that his business is the cause of Little's pain, it's absolutely shattering. What a brilliant, subtle, refined piece of acting. I know that some of the pushback on Moonlight was because people felt the pacing was aimed at being Oscarbait and also didn't like the obligation that people say exists to praise the "black" film of the year, but it was really a phenomenal film in its own right, regardless of political perceptions (or snark.) While I didn't think it was the best film of the year (I would have voted for Manchester by the Sea), it was a great one and Ali absolutely deserved the Best Supporting nod.
Frohike's Avatar
Frohike replied the topic: #255410 10 Oct 2017 00:14

Jackwraith wrote: The best acting moment of the year was in that film. When Little reveals to Juan what his home life is like and Mahershala Ali, as Juan, shows that impact settle in on his face as he realizes that his business is the cause of Little's pain, it's absolutely shattering. What a brilliant, subtle, refined piece of acting. I know that some of the pushback on Moonlight was because people felt the pacing was aimed at being Oscarbait and also didn't like the obligation that people say exists to praise the "black" film of the year, but it was really a phenomenal film in its own right, regardless of political perceptions (or snark.) While I didn't think it was the best film of the year (I would have voted for Manchester by the Sea), it was a great one and Ali absolutely deserved the Best Supporting nod.


That's such a crushing moment, especially upon second viewing when you realize it's the last time he appears in the story, and much like the rest of the film it's just allowed a quiet place to develop for a few seconds. Then it cuts. It's hard to describe the style, but I really wish more films were like this, where the significance isn't telegraphed or framed with dramatic beats or crescendos but just allowed its own unspoken development. It almost feels like some version of Chiron would have directed this.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #255445 10 Oct 2017 12:39

Frohike wrote: It's hard to describe the style, but I really wish more films were like this, where the significance isn't telegraphed or framed with dramatic beats or crescendos but just allowed its own unspoken development.


Exactly. I usually call that style "good writing and/or directing." You don't need an orchestral crash to highlight a dramatic moment. Just let the actors and the camera do their work. One of the best that most around here would be aware of is in Blade Runner, when Deckard casually dismisses Rachel's story with the fact that those aren't her memories, but are Tyrell's niece's that she's been programmed with. You see the anxious Rachel's eyes just crumble while she still is held up by the cautious attitude of being a replicant (all of these feelings are still new to them, historical programming or no) and then you see Deckard's realization that takes him from being annoyed that he has to explain the situation to this object, only to have it click that this is a person with feelings whose world he just shattered. It all takes place in a few seconds. There's no closeup. The score doesn't change. These are just two people having their respective worlds rocked while trying to pretend that they're not. That's storytelling.
Matt Thrower's Avatar
Matt Thrower replied the topic: #255453 10 Oct 2017 14:02
Moonlight didn't do that much for me. I found the first act difficult in terms of finding emotional hooks into the narrative. That "best acting" moment of realisation? Fell flat when I watched it. Just didn't care for any of the characters at all.

The second and third bits were much better. And as others have said it was visually and musically impressive. But as a whole it didn't hang together, and felt more like a fragmentary narrative than a whole.