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Moonlight Blu-ray Review

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“Moonlight” is a moving coming-of-age art film.

Based on the play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” by Tarell Alvin McCraney, writer/director Barry Jenkins’ film “Moonlight” revolves around the character of Chiron at 3 periods in his life at age 11, 17, and 25.  Throughout these years of the character’s life, we follow the shy, quiet, and reserved Chiron as he struggles with his sexuality, encounters bullies, deals with his drug addicted mother, meets parental figures of sorts (a kind hearted drug dealer and his girlfriend), grows, and makes a friend (Kevin) who may change his life forever.

Along with “Lion,” “Moonlight” ranks as the best of the 2017 Academy Award nominated films. Barry Jenkins has crafted a bold and decidedly non-Hollywood film about love, sexuality, family, change, life’s defining moments, and finding yourself. It explores subjects that you just don’t see being explored in cinema these days and it does it with grace. Much like Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood,” “Moonlight” also grabs your attention by chronicling the life of a character in a way that feels realistic.

If there’s one knock that can be made against “Moonlight” it’s that the film is perhaps a little too underdeveloped. I assume that Barry Jenkins wanted viewers to fill in the gaps as to what happened in between the 3 segments, but personally, I couldn’t help but want to see more of the characters and story. What we did see in the 3 parts felt a little too reserved, subtle, and vague at times. It could have been more emotional than it already is, but at the same time, it is refreshing to see a film that doesn’t overdo the dramatic sequences.

Even if you wanted to see more of the characters, there’s no denying that the performances are superb across the board. Mahershala Ali as Juan the father figure/drug dealer is the clear highlight from this film. I was actually rather bummed he wasn’t in it more as I wanted to see more of the dynamic between him and Chiron. Naomie Harris (best known as Moneypenny in the last 2 Bond films) really plays against type as Chiron’s drug addicted mother Paula. She really shows her range here. Again, Janella Monae has only a few scenes here unfortunately, but she has a very impactful role as Juan’s girlfriend Teresa. Alex Hibbert and Ashton Sanders both deserve credit for their portrayals of Chiron, but it’s Trevante Rhodes as the eldest Chiron who really stands out. To me, he sells the movie as a whole.  I have no doubt we will be seeing more of him in the near future.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.39:1 1080p. How does it look? The bright cinematography style really benefits from a hi-def transfer.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? This track is as effective as can be.

Extras:
* Digital copy.
* Lionsgate/A24 trailers.
* “Cruel Beauty: Filming In Miami”- A featurette on the visuals, local casting, and Miami location shooting. Crew interviews are included.
* “Poetry Through Collaboration: The Music Of Moonlight”- This bonus feature covers the score.
* “Ensemble Of Emotion: Making Moonlight”- A 21 minute making of that contains interviews, production stories, story and character discussions, casting information, and more.
* A personable solo commentary by Barry Jenkins. A lot of the information here is in the various featurettes, but there’s still plenty of new stories here.

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February 16, 2017 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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