User Reviews (687)

  • jtindahouse22 February 2017
    5/10
    A film about nothing
    Warning: Spoilers
    With all the controversy back in 2016 over the #Oscarssowhite shambles, it seems that in 2017 the Academy has made a conscious effort to include as much diversity into the show as they possibly can. Unfortunately, the downside of that is that films like 'Moonlight', which are in reality very average, get recognition they don't deserve and people are fooled into thinking they are better than they actually are. 'Moonlight' is a simple film, in fact it's far too simple. There is almost nothing thought-provoking or interesting that happens for the entire 110 minute run time. Yet somehow it's up for a plethora of awards. Go figure.

    Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris have each been nominated for Academy Awards in their respective Supporting categories. Ali is quite brilliant, in fact he's the highlight of the film. He's in nearly the entire first third of the film and I was starting to wonder how this was considered a "Supporting" role, yet he soon drops away. I wish he had been in it for longer though, because he was quite superb. Harris was also quite good in her role. She has a more spread out performance in the film, reoccurring in each chapter. I wouldn't say she blew me away, but she was certainly solid in her role. I will predict Ali to win his category, and Harris to miss out.

    'Moonlight' is one of those films that just kind of drifts along until the credits role. The question I kept asking myself as I watched it was, what is meant to be so extraordinary about these characters? What part of this story justifies making a film out of it? To me it appears that some impressive acting and some false award nominations have tricked people into thinking this film is better than it is. Very disappointing.
  • greeenchik1 March 2017
    10/10
    Simple, Painful, Outstandingly Beautiful
    Moonlight is one of the most beautiful and heart-wrenching films that I have ever seen. Many users are expressing disdain or presumed it to be dull. Yet, to see it as such misses the whole point of the film. Moonlight wasn't intended to overtly wow us or give us knowledge about something we didn't already know. Rather the film allowed us to enter and follow a life that I'm sure many have never considered living. Yes, we know some about poverty, queerness, masculinity, and Blackness individually, but to see the conflict of it all so succinctly woven together allowed the complexity of some folks lives to be seen in an unadulterated way. Moonlight wasn't supposed to give us some grandiose finale or even answers, but simply present a narrative that we often don't see. And that's what makes it so simple, painful, yet outstandingly beautiful.

    It's also important to remember that just because you don't understand something, that doesn't mean it is unimportant or invalid. Just because you can't relate to the entire story doesn't mean pieces of it can't teach you something about life. Just because the narrative is one that isn't widely told, doesn't mean it should be disregarded. If you don't understand this film or find it a waste, look deep inside yourself and ask why.

    10/10 would recommend.
  • Turfseer11 November 2016
    5/10
    Atmospheric inner city coming of age story has major third act problems
    Warning: Spoilers
    Moonlight represents the end product of a collaboration between Barry Jenkins who wrote the screenplay based on a play by Tarell Alvin McCraney. It has an amazing score of "99" on Metacritic, with the lowest score being "63." When I saw this score my immediate reaction was that this film is no "99." It's a lot closer to that "63," a score attributed to a review put out by Slant Magazine.

    Moonlight is divided into three segments, first focusing on a young African-American boy named Chiron (whose nickname is "Little" in the first segment). When we first meet Little, he's run away from home, alienated from his crack-addicted, abusive mother, Paula. A crack dealer named Juan discovers Little inside an abandoned motel and after learning he's been the victim of bullies, he brings him to the home of his girlfriend, Theresa. Little is mute until he opens up the next morning and tells the couple where he lives.

    Juan eventually forms a relationship with Little, acting as a mentor, despite hostility from the boy's mother. Unfortunately, Juan plays no part in the rest of the film and we eventually learn in the last segment that he's no longer alive. Despite the lugubrious pacing, Moonlight chronicles the tragedy of how drugs can play such a ruinous part in the lives of African-American men and women, residing in the inner city.

    Just at the right moment, Jenkins introduces Chiron as a teenager in the second segment. Here he is referred to by his true name. The withdrawn child is now a withdrawn teenager who is still coping with his crackhead of a mother and is taunted by other teens who regard him as not only passive but possibly homosexual. Jenkins isn't afraid to chronicle additional problems in the African-American community, especially the scourge of bullying.

    The story becomes more interesting when Chiron hooks up with his old childhood friend, Kevin, who leads him to a homosexual encounter on the beach. There's more drama when Kevin participates in a hazing ritual, betraying Chiron by slugging him a number of times in the face, at the behest of the usual suspects of high school bullies. When Chiron smashes a chair over the bully in front of his high school class, he's taken away by the police and placed in a juvenile detention center.

    The third segment focuses on Chiron ten years later—he goes by the name of "Black," an appellation given to him by Kevin when he was in high school. Jenkins makes the mistake of casting the older Chiron with an actor who doesn't resemble the younger high school student Chiron, at all. We find out next to nothing about the older Chiron, except that he's now a hardened drug dealer living in Atlanta.

    After getting a phone call from Kevin, who now works as a cook in Miami, Black goes to visit him there. He first visits his mother who is now a resident at a nursing home and begs his forgiveness for her earlier deleterious behavior. Naomie Harris does a fine job as the repentant mother and the son hugs her, still acknowledging their bond.

    Once Black walks into the small restaurant where Kevin now works, the story is virtually over. You can guess what happens next: Black acknowledges that he's been alone since their encounter in high school—and he agrees to send the night with Kevin, who still has feelings for him, despite having a child with a woman from whom he is now separated.

    Moonlight really runs out of gas in the third act, as Black (Chiron) remains a completely underdeveloped character. The reconciliation, highlighted by tender feelings between two men, is simply not enough to bring the story to a fitful conclusion. Jenkins' final 30 minutes is dragged out where there are no surprises. Moonlight has quite a bit of atmosphere (particularly in the first two acts) and some raw performances (particularly by the child actors), but ultimately the denouement was not thought out clearly enough to pass muster as a film rated almost 100 by an overwhelming majority of major film critics.
  • O30521 February 2017
    2/10
    Did I miss something? This movie was unremarkable at best.
    Warning: Spoilers
    I'm extremely lost as to why this movie has received so much praise. It was like watching a cake bake at 200 degrees and taking it out after 2 hours -- nothing to show for. Just a bunch of warm ingredients in a pan.

    Barely any character development, and no flavor. It was set in Miami, and as a (black) Miami native (who currently lives here), I didn't get any Miami vibes. The characters did not look or act Miami (for lack of better words). This was distracting and disappointing to me. Like, what was the mother's accent??? And Theresa didn't look like a Miami hood chick at all. It annoyed the hell out of me that she had the same weave in when Chiron was 8 as when he was 16. How, Sway? Miami girls switch up their wigs and weaves weekly. They should have cast Miami natives.

    Secondly, the casting of young adult Kevin & Chiron was dreadful. Chiron went from being an awkward-looking, not so attractive teenager to quite attractive eye candy as a young adult (mmm, he was fine!). Teenage Chiron had some pretty notable facial features (which added to his awkwardness) that adult Chiron bore no resemblance to. I think the awkwardness as a teen was a central part of the character's identity. I understand that he became more streetwise and confident when he moved to Atlanta, but it was also clear that he strangely remained asexual since that experience with Kevin when he was 16. That is NOT normal -- to me that screams awkward and undeveloped adult... not the sexy, full of swag young adult that Black was. The transition was too extreme and the remaining awkwardness we should have seen was no where to be found. I would have liked to see young adult Black as more average looking, and somehow exuding his more streetwise ways, *despite* his awkwardness. (And I'm sorry, the shyness did not come through as awkwardness to me.) This was very distracting and showed a complete lack of attention to casting.

    Kevin went from looking kind of mixed as a kid and teenager to not at all as an adult. Disappointing choice there, too.

    Let's not even talk about that horrible attempt at grey hair on the mom of adult Chiron. Why didn't they give the lady a damn wig.

    As for the rest of the movie, if you're going to have a slow moving drama like this, character development is so important. I should have felt attached to the characters. Unspoken things should have made more of a punch, like Juan's death. I wasn't even sure if it was his funeral they were referring to. They could have done so much better with that. At the end of the movie, I didn't really feel anything for anyone. Except a from Trevante Rhodes. I had all the feelings for him. LOL. I could have seen more of him with his shirt off, since that was the highlight of the movie.
  • riproar-8326425 January 2017
    1/10
    Waste of time
    Warning: Spoilers
    I watched this film for two hours. Two whole hours that are gone. Forever. The film takes place in Miami. It's about a young black boy who grows up gay in a tough neighborhood. That's it. Lots of sitting on the beach. Lots of talking that doesn't go ANYWHERE. Overall, the film followed a tired format that paints a pretty bland and shallow picture about life in the "hood." Stereotypical characterization of black women. I honestly couldn't tell you the point of this film or write a more a more comprehensive summary because it's a waste of time.

    Why is this up for an award? With the exception of Ali--who is a really good actor whose talent is wasted in this film--I don't get it.
  • MWberger8 February 2017
    3/10
    I wanted to like it, but no
    Reading other peoples' comments makes me a minority I believe, but there was just something that didn't win me over with Moonlight. Don't get me wrong, my favorite movie genre is drama and I really appreciate deep and artistically made coming-of-age dramas too, but I could barely contain my restlessness in these two hours. There was so little dialogue (and even if it was there, it didn't bear any importance) that it was difficult for me to get to know the characters, let alone like them or care for them. Although the plot may be relatable to some people, it just wasn't original. It felt like one cliché was followed by another.

    Maybe the main problem is that I couldn't wait to watch it, I read so many brilliant reviews and eight Oscar nominations built up my expectations. Well, Moonlight in my opinion was a disappointment and even though I wanted to like it, it just didn't happen. I will still give the movie a 3 because it is not a disaster, the acting is decent and I appreciate the director didn't want to show another story of a white and privileged man. Movies with this type of message are important for our society, but I would not recommend watching this particular one.
  • marcosaguado4 January 2017
    10/10
    Three One Everything
    When a film comes out and you know next to nothing about it with a director you don't know and a cast of mostly unknowns and it blows you away like it did me. Then I know I'm confronted by something unique. In fact it was director/writer Martin Donovan who wrote about Moonlight, urging all his actors to run and see it. Thank you sir. The faces of those three young men who are just one did something to my brain and to my heart. The best group of actors I've seen in one single film in a long, long time. The big surprise is that we knew it all along. It's all about love and what it means to be a man. Thank you Barry Jenkisns A revolutionary film made of truth and beauty.
  • Lord moo_232 November 2016
    10/10
    Identity Takes Time to Discover
    To solely categorize this film as an examination of Chiron, a young African American who has to deal with being gay is accurate but inadequate. It wouldn't be inadequate to also categorize it as a movie about drug abuse, school bullying, and isolation. However, if someone were to ask me what MOONLIGHT is truly about I would say that, at it's core, it's a film about teaching a child how to swim, feeling the sand on your skin, and cooking a meal for an old friend. Director Berry Jenkins is not afraid to be poetic, to guide his film away from conventional storytelling and offer his audience something to connect to in their own way. The way his camera roams around is sensually magnificent; he knows when to cut to the next shot and when to linger a few seconds longer. But above all else, his ability to add an extra texture to each scene is awe-inspiring; it's more than just style for the sake of style; it's essential to the movie's argument. From the very first shot to the very last, MOONLIGHT is about as beautiful a movie as you're likely to see this year. The colours are rich and luminous; James Laxton's cinematography is visually immersive leaving you stranded inside the story of the film. It moves at a smooth, welcoming pace. The music, whether it be the classical or hip-hop selections as well as Nicholas Britell's subtle score, is perfect. And the performance are, well… they're the cherry on top. It's uncanny how similar the 3 actors, who played the kid, teenage, and adult versions of Chiron behaved and acted; you'd almost think it was the same actor who played all three roles. Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris are more deserving of Oscar nominations than just about anyone I've seen this year. They may be the standouts, but all the performances, ranging from the children to the adults, are so raw and powerful; a standing ovation for the casting director is in order. But perhaps the thing about this movie that deserves the most acclaim is its open-endedness; it's fight against straightforward categorization and recap. MOONLIGHT so much more than a movie about growing up gay; it's about overcoming your adversities and, despite being a product of your environment, figuring out who you want to become. Identity takes time to discover, and that's something anyone can relate to.
  • robsash30 January 2017
    1/10
    Ungodly boring
    Warning: Spoilers
    Without a doubt this should be at the top of the most overrated movies of 2016. I cannot believe that I managed to stay awake during this trite story that goes absolutely nowhere. Not sure what message the director was trying to convey, but it utterly lost in the unbelievably slow pace and sleep inducing dialogue. Evidently this is supposed to be a story about a young, black man who is coming to terms with being gay in the gang/drug culture of Miami. Maybe that's a good story line, but it is impossible to relate to any of the characters due to the horribly boring writing. Definitely a movie to be missed. Borderline unwatchable and certainly not deserving of an Oscar nomination.
  • vitaleralphlouis28 November 2016
    1/10
    A Complete Fraud of a Movie
    Warning: Spoilers
    Everything you read about this one is a lie. It's not a masterpiece, will not "open your eyes". What we have is a man-on-man love story about a boy called Little who suspects he's "different" and is told so (in no easy terms) by his classmates. When he slams one of these guys in the head with a chair his life of crime begins, as he evolves into a successful but lonely drug dealer (Sweet!). When he reconnects with the guy who seduced him it becomes a happily-ever-after affair. As a Street Drama the movie is lame. The makers of this film, and the reviewers, are spineless deceivers. If they had the courage of their convictions they'd be up-front concerning what the movie is about.
  • sonofjuliet-8833024 February 2017
    1/10
    Worst movie ever - Do they let you give negative numbers?
    Warning: Spoilers
    I bought a pass from our local theater to see all the Oscar nominated movies for best picture this week, right before the Oscars. Moonlight was my number 5, and I was really excited about seeing it. I had no idea what it was about, like the other movies I saw already (Hidden Figures, Hell or High Water, Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge so far). I really enjoyed the other four movies so far, so I was expecting a movie on the same par as these. This movie was so bad that I created an account on here just so I could leave a review and save others the agony of seeing this piece of garbage. It was the most pretentious thing I've seen, and worst movie I've ever seen (and I saw the first 3 seconds of Two Girls One Cup). I kept waiting for it to get good. 10 minutes, 20, 30, 60, 90?! And then boom, the movie was over with no plot (of which there was none) resolution to be seen. I really don't know what it was about. I cannot fathom why this thing was nominated for anything, except for a Razzie, and now I keep wondering if Asthon Kutcher is gonna show up at the Oscars and tell the director he was punk'd for being nominated. I hate to say it, but I think the only reason it was nominated and reviewed so highly by the powers that be, is because of white guilt, and that's the simple and plain truth. Hollywood is trying to avoid the mad black actors from last year (Hi Jada S.) that were mad at there being no people of color being nominated, so this pile of crap was given its affirmative action place with some other movies that were actually well made.
  • dfarad18 November 2016
    1/10
    Awful Garbage Trash of a Movie
    Warning: Spoilers
    I cannot remember the last time that I got up and walked out of the movie theater but it's been decades. Well, that's exactly what I did today after stomaching about 45 minutes of this very poorly written, poorly directed, slow story of despair, desperation, and misery.

    I also can't believe people are actually giving this trash of a movie good reviews.

    It was depressing from the start, but I gave the movie a chance because I wanted to believe they were going somewhere with the story. I was right, they were going somewhere with the story all right.

    It's a gay love story that seemed to have no purpose or meaning other than someone wanting to make a movie about a dysfunctional, drug addicted "mother/son relationship and how he grew up bullied and confused about his life and sexuality.

    Both thumbs down. Horrible waste of time and money. First time I ever asked the theater management for my money back. Booooooo!!
  • Gattodr22 February 2017
    4/10
    Overrated
    I was very excited to see this movie, but got very disappointed with what I saw. Despite the good performance of Naomi Harris, the move is very boring for me taste. The movie is very slow and way overrated. I really don't see the deal with the performance of Mr. Ali but maybe it's just me...
  • gpantoli25 February 2017
    3/10
    l am really disillusioned
    Warning: Spoilers
    I watched it cause of your hyper-critics, and deeply disagree with them.

    The acting is stereotypical, insisted, and uninteresting. Characters are all obvious, and repeat themselves one generation after another. The camera doesn't dig beyond surface, and photography is shallow and uninteresting. Dialogues!? A little drama, so far the protagonist is aphasic. If l were black, l'd consider it a bad racial movie, so far those (all black) characters are depicted in polarised, mechanical way. No hope, no change. The shooting is lengthy and misses suspense. A few lyrical moments, when old time friends meet up again, are reasonably, yet obviously, good. I wasted time and money, TV has much more on offer daily
  • A_Different_Drummer16 January 2017
    9/10
    keep your eye on Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris
    The reviewer's dilemma (and it is a dilemma reviewers LOVE to encounter) is, in a superb film with superb acting all around, a superb script, and superb directing, you still need to pay special attention to those actors that, in such a competitive environment, stand out as something "extra" special.

    In this mesmerizing film, special attention has to go to two actors who steal every scene they are in and silently promise the viewer that the long and bountiful careers ahead of them will deliver even better performances down the road.

    I am referring first to Mahershala Ali, whose magnetic presence made him the centerpiece of Luke Cage (where he competes with, and surpasses, actors with much greater experience). If you watch this actor closely, not only is he in the moment, but his body seems to be in constant motion even when he is sitting still. Like a hummingbird. Awesome to behold and although he has been lately playing characters of "dubious morality" one gets the feeling he could play a hero just as easily.

    And then there is the performance of Naomie Harris, a performance so strong and memorable that I began to recall that, in the Golden Age of films, they used to refer to performances like hers as "searing" -- but lately I have not seen the term used very often in a review.

    So in honor of Ms. Harris I will say for the record that her performance in this film -- with minimal screen time -- is searing and unforgettable.

    Highly recommended.
  • donmacd6230 December 2016
    4/10
    Not so good.
    When Moonlight ended, a woman a few rows back said,"Is that it?" That was exactly what I was thinking. This movie received so many excellent reviews from critics, and awards and nominations galore, that I assumed it must be quite good. Unfortunately, I do not agree with these critics or the various award giving entities in this case. I do not think it should have ever been nominated for best picture or best director. I give it a 4 out of ten. Moonlight is not entertaining, nor is it interesting. I can only guess that they thought it was politically correct to give a movie about a bullied,gay, black teen a good review because of all the controversy surrounding the Academy Awards supposed lack of ethnic diversity. I would nominate Denzel Washington's "Fences" instead.
  • ship11233-15 January 2017
    2/10
    Pretentious and tedious
    Warning: Spoilers
    If you love long drawn-out scenes with no dialogue, trite characters, and around an hour too long, then this is the film for you.

    The main character lives with a junkie mom, yet always appears bandbox fresh?

    The main character, is habitually, and is known for speaking slowly, or not at all! and with few words when he does. Slow doesn't begin to cover the tediousness of this habit on screen.

    This is just one more message film beating one over the head... okay we get it!

    Artistic? No way! Pretentious as hell.
  • Harrison Tweed (Top Dawg)14 July 2017
    4/10
    Way overrated.
    Every now and then a film comes along that gets a ridiculous amount of award nominations, primarily only due to its message - and that's it. This is one of those films. Sure it was perfectly cast, directed and written, but it was too slow and didn't really have anything exciting to offer except for a story that's been told before - only a little fancier. Not a bad film, but not great either. It's way too overrated. It's only a 4/10 from me
  • Michael Roberts27 February 2017
    1/10
    Disappointingly dull
    The 10 star reviews are shocking and Best Picture Oscar are shocking. I found the film tedious and dull. Nothing engaging or interesting to draw my attention away from the awful dialogue and predictable story arcs. Whilst I haven't seen any films about gay black men growing up in poverty, this film told me nothing about that struggle that I couldn't have written myself on the back of an envelope. If the academy felt compelled to give Best Picture to a film featuring actors of colour, both Hidden Figures and Lion were far more deserving.
  • soundinfinite-791-94806526 January 2017
    2/10
    Modern Day Boyz n The Hood
    Warning: Spoilers
    So how many films do we have to see about poverty, drug use, inner city struggle and young boys coming of age n the hood?

    The original version of this now tired story-line is the 1991 Boyz n The Hood and still the best version.

    Just because the writers make the young boy gay, doesn't make it innovative.

    On top of it, the flow of the film is jagged. Unrelated scenes and dialogue that do nothing for it's artistic or deep portrayal.

    The early scenes show the working mother striving to provide, worried about her son's whereabouts as he comes home to a clean furnished apartment in a low income neighbourhood. Next thing we jump to her on crack, spewing all sorts of vilification towards her son's orientation while he's at home in the apartment now empty, no hot water and the kid's boiling water on the stove to take a bath. Keeping in mind he's all of 7 or 8.

    Okay so without at lease an inkling of a backstory we make the jump wondering what fresh hell is next? All in all each scene rambles in meaningless directions with meaningless dialogue.

    Sorry folks, I didn't stick around to find out if there's a happy ending.

    It's just a bad film trying to make you feel as if you should care because there are poignant important issues on offer.

    The truth is the film is exploiting important issues hoping the audience isn't savvy enough to pick up on the extremely bad writing.

    The writing manipulates the audience with over the top emotional brutality and preys upon our need to remain politically correct toward the content.

    In reality the content is both racist and homophobic. Thanks but no thanks.
  • atomasmoreno11 February 2017
    3/10
    Poor plot
    The photography of this movie is more than amazing, but the plot is really poor. Slow, predictable and specially there are many issues not explained. And we do have to believe this is a nice ending? It tries to be a copycat from Boyhood and even more, from Truffaut series... This year Oscar's selection are really disappointing. Teresa and specially Blue are interesting characters and then suddenly we do not know anything else from them. Bullying in the school is so often, I suffered... buy we then wonder if he goes to a special school or what happened? Moved to Atlanta? why? when? Too many gaps. Last but not least, looks really weird that Chiron can be the same boy from 17 to the last chapter (Black). The three actors play very well but the idea of the director of not making them meet for me is wrong... too different. Solitude is a way specific feeling.
  • Selena-Kyle1 May 2017
    3/10
    Pretty bad
    It is a shame in this day and age that people can't even be honest with themselves, and in not doing so, do more harm to their cause than good.

    Simply, this film sucks. No story, no plot, no character development (at least not to the point you care about anyone, including the kid). Just one big dull moment.

    The thing is, that by 'fluffing' the piece up or saying it is better than it is just because it is a 'black' film it is like saying: This is the best we can do, and when REAL people watch it (not fake reviewers or people fluffing it), they'll say, "Really? Well that was pretty bad." And so, where is the real win?

    Had it not been for Mahershala Ali who I love on House of Cards, I would have wanted to give this a NEGATIVE 1, as it is, a 2 is generous.
  • Andrew Terhune26 February 2017
    2/10
    Two wasted hours
    Yes, it had good acting. Yes, it was technically well made. But there's no there there. For us it never achieved liftoff. It kept plodding on and on, nothing really wrong with it, but nothing to justify spending two hours on. In the end (and at the end) we were left wondering, why is the end now? Why not 30 minutes before or 30 minutes after? Possibly a good movie for film buffs/critics who are tired of the same old thing, but for the occasional movie goer, we can do better.
  • lyndseywhittle24 February 2017
    2/10
    Slow, boring what else?
    I was hoping something was going to happen, I felt as though i wasted 2 hours of my life in this slow and boring film. I heard the reviews were good but what was so good about it? He hardly said a word and it was just a lot of eye contact. Disappointed and I won't ever watch it again. It's typical of American producers nowadays making slow boring dramas with no edge at all to them.
  • contrerassherry21 September 2017
    5/10
    why it won
    I saw this with a friend at the AMC Oscar Showcase. When it was over I said "Well they killed two birds with one stone." Politically correct qualifications - black and gay - both in one movie. I was sort of joking but it turned out to be true. It was interesting enough but not worth the Oscar win on its own merits, in my opinion.
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