“At some point, you gotta decide for yourself who you're going to be. Can't let nobody make that decision for you”.

Where I go to school, there is only one cinema in town and it rarely gets indie films. So, I decided to make the trek to a Regal that is nearly an hour away from where I live to see the critically acclaimed Moonlight. There’s really no point in telling you what this film is about, if you haven’t already seen it, as I went in pretty much blind (seeing no trailers) and could not recommend it more. First and foremost, there will never be a bigger snub if Barry Jenkins doesn’t get nominated for Best Director at the Oscars. He is the single reason why this film is what it is, with every shot having a purpose and a distinct feeling. I have not seen such rawly aimed direction in a couple of years, to be completely honest.

It’s essentially cinematic dynamite, as there is not one scene that doesn’t grasp and intrigue you to the last degree. There are three sections to the film and I cannot even place one above another because they all have a specific purpose for the film as a whole and they all work magnificently. Scenes are still replaying in my head as I write, whereas most films I see nowadays I forget 90% of it a few hours later. The performances are as real as you can get, with Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris and Ashton Sanders leading the way with Oscar-worthy portrayals. Must also give a shout out to Janelle Monae, a fellow Kansas Citian (my original hometown), who was quite charming in her first on-screen role. Sanders might be the standout of the three portrayals of our protagonist, but both Alex Hibbert and Trevante Rhodes are memorable, too, and the three of them combine to make a well-rounded character, that feels like the same person all the way through.

The score and cinematography are also standouts and give the film an indescribable tone that kept me on the edge of my seat, especially the final 45 minutes. When the third act began, I was a little worried at the direction it was headed but the ending works wonders and is completely haunting. The emotions that went through my body are hard to explain and I’m completely positive I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. Simply put, Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight is a masterpiece. There were only two other people in my theater, so I implore you to go check it out. It’s the Boyhood that I will continually rewatch.

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