7.4/10
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Moonlight (2016)

R | | Drama | 18 November 2016 (USA)
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A chronicle of the childhood, adolescence and burgeoning adulthood of a young, African-American, gay man growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.

Director:

Barry Jenkins

Writers:

Barry Jenkins (screenplay by), Tarell Alvin McCraney (story by)
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Popularity
574 ( 26)
Won 3 Oscars. Another 223 wins & 279 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mahershala Ali ... Juan
Shariff Earp Shariff Earp ... Terrence
Duan Sanderson ... Azu (as Duan 'Sandy' Sanderson)
Alex R. Hibbert ... Little (as Alex Hibbert)
Janelle Monáe ... Teresa
Naomie Harris ... Paula
Jaden Piner ... Kevin age 9
Herman 'Caheei McGloun Herman 'Caheei McGloun ... Longshoreman (as Herman 'Caheej' McGloun)
Kamal Ani-Bellow Kamal Ani-Bellow ... Portable Boy 1
Keomi Givens Keomi Givens ... Portable Boy 2
Eddie Blanchard Eddie Blanchard ... Portable Boy 3
Rudi Goblen Rudi Goblen ... Gee (as Rudi Goblin)
Ashton Sanders ... Chiron
Edson Jean ... Mr. Pierce
Patrick Decile ... Terrel
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Storyline

Three time periods - young adolescence, mid-teen and young adult - in the life of black-American Chiron is presented. When a child, Chiron lives with his single, crack addict mother Paula in a crime ridden neighborhood in Miami. Chiron is a shy, withdrawn child largely due to his small size and being neglected by his mother, who is more concerned about getting her fixes and satisfying her carnal needs than taking care of him. Because of these issues, Chiron is bullied, the slurs hurled at him which he doesn't understand beyond knowing that they are meant to be hurtful. Besides his same aged Cuban-American friend Kevin, Chiron is given what little guidance he has in life from a neighborhood drug dealer named Juan, who can see that he is neglected, and Juan's caring girlfriend Teresa, whose home acts as a sanctuary away from the bullies and away from Paula's abuse. With this childhood as a foundation, Chiron may have a predetermined path in life, one that will only be magnified in terms... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This is the story of a lifetime.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality, drug use, brief violence, and language throughout | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 November 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Moonlight See more »

Filming Locations:

Miami, Florida, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$402,075, 23 October 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$27,850,912, 28 April 2017

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$55,561,162, 20 March 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39:1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is based on the unproduced play "In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue" by MacArthur Fellow Tarell Alvin McCraney. See more »

Goofs

When Chiron dreams about Kevin after their phone call, they have not seen each other since high school and yet Kevin is portrayed as an adult. Chiron would not know what adult Kevin looks like. See more »

Quotes

Teresa: Aright. Water for me, and a little gin for you.
Teresa: [chuckles] Boy please. I know Juan used to give you that gin, but we ain't doing that up in here Chiron.
[pause]
Teresa: You don't think my joke was funny?
[pause]
Teresa: What's wrong?
Chiron: Nothing. I'm good.
Teresa: No. I done seen good, and you ain't it.
Teresa: Stop putting yo' head down in my house! You know my rule. It's all love and all pride in this house! Do you feel me?
[Chiron nods]
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits. See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Best Movie Endings of the 2010s (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Cell Therapy
Written by Robert Barnett, Khujo (as Willie Knighton), Cameron Gipp, Ray Murray (as Raymon Murray), Sleepy Brown (as Patrick Brown), Rico Wade, CeeLo Green (as Thomas Callaway)
Performed by Goodie Mob
Courtesy of RCA Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Excellent Character Study with Fantastic Performances
2 February 2017 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Moonlight (2016)

**** (out of 4)

Extremely well-made and lyrical movie that deals with a young black man trying to survive in Miami while discovering who he is through a series of hard times. We first meet "Little" (Alex R. Hibbert) as a young kid who is discovered by a local drug dealer (Mahershala Ali) who tries to teach him some life lesson. We then meet him as a teenager (Ashton Sanders) where he is constantly being bullied while at the same time trying to learn his sexuality. Finally, in the third act, we meet him as an adult (Trevante Rhodes) and see how these earlier events have shaped his life.

MOONLIGHT is a fantastic character study and I'd argue that it's one of the most interesting ever made. I'm not saying it's one of the greatest films ever made but at the same time I would argue that it's one of the best directed and acted movies that I've seen in a very long time and the end result is something rather special. Yes, we've seen these coming of age dramas for countless decades now but this one here still manages to come across rather fresh and original.

What I loved most about the film were the performances by the three actors playing the same character at various stages of his life. A lot of movies try this and it's rare that all three are so believable in their roles that you really do feel as if you're watching one character throughout a period. All three actors really did seem to have studied each other or at least had such great direction where they were all acting the same way, with the same emotions and as the film went along you could see how the teenager was in the younger version and how these two versions played a major role on the adult.

The performances here are simply wonderful with Hibbert, Sanders and Rhodes delivering some of the finest performances of the year. The amount of emotional and realism they bring this character is something really breathtaking to watch. Ali is the real standout though as he plays a man we meet and who at first we don't know anything about him. We slowly learn about his character but the presence Ali brings to the role is something truly excellent to watch and he delivers a knock out performance. Janelle Monáe is also wonderful as his girlfriend as is Naomie Harris as the boy's mother.

Director Barry Jenkins does an extremely wonderful job at keeping the film moving along. There's a terrific visual style including the opening sequence, which just grabs you and pulls you into this world. MOONLIGHT is one of the better character studies out there and it certainly takes you on a fantastic voyage of a boy trying to learn to be himself and become a man.


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