Have you ever seen a coming of age story that emulates Brokeback Mountain in the hood? Well, that is exactly what the film MOONLIGHT is giving us.
MOONLIGHT absolutely glows while sharing the dysfunctional home life of "Little" in the Miami "War on Drugs" era and his struggle to figure out who he is and what his place is to be as adult in this conflicted world he exists in.
Alex R. Hibbert is exceptionally complex as Little and physically is very reminiscent of a young 50 cent. However, the other actors that portray "Little" are all so riveting that no matter what scene you are watching, one is riveted by their performances.
Mahershala Ali is having one hell of a year! Right off of his Recurring role in the Netflix hit, House of Cards, Ali has several features that have been released this year including Free State of Jones with Matthew McConaughey, the indie darling Kicks and now as crack dealer Juan. Ali has truly cornered the market on the bad guy, but in Moonlight he shows that even bad guys have a heart. His scenes teaching "Little" to swim will warm and break your heart all at once.
In her film debut, recording artist turned actress Janelle Monae appears very comfortable in front of the lens. If this performance is any indication of what we are in store for when Hidden Figures is released (along with Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer), she may very well see herself on numerous red carpet leading to some well-deserved Oscar buzz.
Andre' Holland as Little's best friend from childhood, Kevin is sexy,..period. Holland gives Kevin just the right amount of vulnerability to match Hibbert in some very touching scenes. We learn that even the men who pretend to be the hardest dudes out there need love and a gentle touch every once in a while.
The one person who your mind can't forget after leaving the theatre is Naomi Harris. As Little's crack-addicted Mom, Paula, you just want to reach up to the screen and shake some sense into her. What mother loves that rock more than her own flesh and blood? One of her most prolific scenes is while she is in rehab expressing her remorse for his upbringing while begging him to get off the streets. Absolutely...heartbreaking.
Moonlight can be seen in a theatre near you as of October 21st.