Moonlight is the story of Chiron, a shy and awkward boy who grows to be a gangster with a secret.
This story is an examination of what it means to be a black man in contemporary America and how a self-reinforcing cultural stereotype can cause huge conflict within the mind of a man like Chiron or “Black”. On the surface he is the epitome of the gangster cliche with gold-plated grill, pimpmobile and jail yard physique but this is carefully constructed facade he has had to affect because of his aggressively homophobic peers. He is played by three different actors portraying three different stages in his life but not only are they all completely believable, they actually genuinely seem to be the same person which adds a really nice sense of continuity to the story. The film is beautifully shot, the direction artful yet still naturalistic and the use of light is superb, as Chiron shifts from the comfort of the dark to the harsh light of reality. Add an extremely effective soundtrack and you have a beautifully crafted and intimate character study that expands upon the theme of the vicious cycle of childhood poverty and street crime that was so brilliantly laid out in the later seasons of TV show The Wire.
A thoroughly deserving Academy Award winner.