When it comes to making the perfect movie it can be a hard thing to do. What makes it hard, is that many people would tell you that perfection is unattainable, something I think might be true. Perfection is in the eye of the beholder though, and Vince Lombardi once said, “ Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence. “ I feel Berry Jenkins was striving for and in part achieving that very thing with his film “Moonlight.” This belief comes from knowing that while his film might not be perfect, it is excellent, and kind of amazing.
Life can be hard for many people, and for Little (Alex R. Hibbert) it is. You see Little has gotten in the crosshairs of kids who want to bully him because he doesn’t act like them. Having a mother who is on drugs and a father, who is not around, Little enjoys being at home as much more than at school. Little though finds refuge in Juan (Mahershala Ali), who sees a kid in need and starts to try and fill a void in his life. In the process of that Little is still trying to figure out who he is, and can’t be complete until he does. The story continues into Little’s teenage years, where he no longer wants to be called Little, but instead by his give name Chiron (Ashton Sanders). The bullying has not stopped, but Chiron understands more now why it happens. Chiron is not very social, and his home life has gotten worse, which makes him withdraw more. Things hit their boiling point, and a decision Chiron makes puts his life on a much different path .When we catch up with Chiron, he has once again shed his name, and taken the name Black (Trevante Rhodes). No longer wanting to be the prey, Black has figured out who he is, which has given him the confidence to express himself freely. The tranquility he has found is broken when someone that meant a lot to him reaches out to reconnect.
The story that Jenkins tells, which is from a play by Tarell Alvin McCraney’s called “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue”, is completely human above anything else. Besides that factor, the story is also timeless, and feels like it could be relatable to so many different people. It feels like life, with all of it’s rough edges intact, but also with the heart you would expect from a coming-of-age film. Where the story of “Moonlight” is the engine that makes it go, the performances are the actual train. Lead by the all three actors who play Chirone, who say very little, but deliver equally powerful performances. This is one of those films that comes around every few years that you know people will talking about because of its timelessness. Jenkins doesn’t make a perfect film, but what he does is make one as close as you can get, and the end result is one of the best movies of this year, or any year, period.