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Review of the film "Moonlight"

A politically correct, but superficially composed, politically correct drama about growing a black gay man from a slum.

7
evaluation

A small black Sharon grows in the slums of Miami. His single mother (Naomi Harris) sits on drugs, other children tease and beat Sharon for his weakness and shyness, and the boy finds love and affection only in one place - at the home of the drug dealer Juan (Maheršala Ali). Although it is Juan's gang that supplies the boy's mother with a poison, Sharon treats the boy as his son. When the gangster dies, his girlfriend Teresa takes care of the boy (Janel Monet). As Sharon grows and manages, he realizes that he is different from other guys, not only by behavior, but also by sexual orientation.

Shot from the movie "Moonlight"

Shot from the movie "Moonlight"

The picture is based on a semi-autobiographical play by the actor and playwright Tarren Alvin McCraoney. The mother of the protagonist is based simultaneously on the mothers of McCraoney and the film's director Barry Jenkins. Both women were addicts

The second picture of a black director from Miami Barry Jenkins, who began his career with a low-budget romantic drama "A medicine of melancholy"Was adopted by American liberal criticism with such love, with which just recently welcomed the election of President Obama. Journalists excelled in laudatory responses and admired the fact that "Moonlight" does not just portray a black gay from a poor neighborhood (as a rule, gays in American cinema are white middle-class people), but makes him the main character of the picture and builds a narrative around the awareness of " nontraditional "orientation in a society that expects a guy to love only with respect to women. When you read Western critics, it seems that Jenkins is the new coming of Christ and that his film is the best thing that happened in the cinema over the last decade.

Shot from the movie "Moonlight"

Shot from the movie "Moonlight"

The film is nominated for eight "Oscars", including in the categories "Best Film", "Best Director", "Best Adapted Screenplay"

We, however, do not care much about how often Hollywood portrays certain aspects of American life. We should figure out how life in Russia is displayed in our cinema! So we evaluate the "Moonlight" not as an ideological breakthrough, but as an arthouse drama, tracing the growing up of the protagonist in very difficult circumstances - a minimum of maternal care, almost complete absence of friends, bullying of school bullies ... And no life prospects. Judging by the film, in those areas where Sharon lives, they become either drug dealers, or drug addicts, or both.

Shot from the movie "Moonlight"

Shot from the movie "Moonlight"

What about the "Moonlight"? First of all, that his narrative is too scattered and therefore superficial. The film is divided into three parts, which are devoted to Sharon in childhood, Sharon in high school and adult Sharon, who became an influential drug dealer. Each of these chapters could and should have been a separate full-length film - especially the first chapter, where a kind-hearted drug dealer appears in the boy's life, and the third chapter, where Sharon gains courage, to confess his feelings to a former classmate.

Shot from the movie "Moonlight"

Shot from the movie "Moonlight"

So you see full-fledged, thoughtful stories about a drug dealer who is too good for his business, and about a drug dealer who is forced to lead a double life - "tough" for subordinates and "sensual" for those to whom he can reveal himself. Actually, two of these stories could be combined and still get a much deeper and more exciting movie than the one that Jenkins shot.

Shot from the movie "Moonlight"

Shot from the movie "Moonlight"

Be that as it may, Juan and the adult Sharon deserved closer scrutiny than what Jenkins gives them. Because of the brevity of the film's chapters, the director confines himself to statements ("The hero used to be so, and now he's different"), and does not build dramatic narratives even when they ask for a screen. In this case, Huang is more charismatic than Sharon at any age, which creates the feeling that the picture wrongly chose the central character or too early brought the senior gangster out of action. The film loses a lot when the most colorful Mahershala Ali disappears from the frame.

Shot from the movie "Moonlight"

Shot from the movie "Moonlight"

At least, the picture fulfills the task that it poses - to reflect the difficulty of growing up in a society that gives little to children and demands a lot from them. And three time layers of "Moonlight" allow, if not to reveal, then to depict the different sides of this not only the American problem.

Among the other aspects of the film, two stand out: a compelling and heartfelt play of actors of all ages and a soundtrack combining a variety of styles, from the natural in such a rap movie to unexpectedly relevant classical music. Actors, the sound track and a few touching and poetic scenes (for example, the tender moment when Juan teaches Sharon to swim) save the picture when the script does not reach the desired level. In general, however, "Moonlight" seems rather missed than an opportunity realized.

Since 16 February at the cinema.

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