If you didn’t know about Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” when its first trailer premiered in early August, you almost certainly do now. The critical darling of the fall film festivals, “Moonlight” has emerged over the past several weeks as one of the most essential indie films of 2016. IndieWire’s Chief Film Critic Eric Kohn not only called it a “beautiful, intimate portrait,” but he also declared that it synthesized some of best American cinema of recent years. That’s some serious praise, and our exclusive promo below only further cements the unanimous acclaim (as does its Gotham Award nominations today).
Told in three acts, “Moonlight” is a study of masculinity, sexuality and identity as seen through the coming of age of Chiron. Growing up in the projects of Miami, Chiron’s world view is shaped by his own burgeoning discovery of his sexuality and the influential figures around him, including his drug-addicted mother (Naomi Harris) and the local dealer who becomes his father figure (Mahershala Ali). Andre Holland and Janelle Monaé also star.
While “Moonlight” is a bold confirmation of Jenkins’ skills behind the camera, it’s also a remarkable debut for its central acting trio, which includes Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes. Each actor adds new dimensions to our understanding of Chiron while building off of what has come before. It’s a high-wire act in character building that floors you in the final 30 minutes.
A24 will release “Moonlight” in select theaters this Friday, October 21. Watch the exclusive promo below.