'Moonlight' shines as coming-of-age tale

A second feature coming from writer-director Barry Jenkins, who adapted Tarell Alvin McCraney’s unproduced play in a manner of which doesn’t suggest those stage roots, the story follows one young African-American through three distinct windows, played by a different actor in each time frame. As such, the attention on any one performer can be somewhat blunted — inside way “Slumdog Millionaire” was — although the casting can be impeccable at every stage.

The focus can be on Chiron, known as Little (Alex Hibbert) when we first encounter him as a young boy. Growing up in Miami, he’s picked on by different kids along with desperate to stay away coming from his crack-addicted mother (Naomie Harris).

Chiron finds unlikely refuge that has a neighborhood drug dealer (Mahershala Ali, of “Luke Cage” along with “House of Cards”), who treats the near-silent youth with unexpected tenderness along with compassion, including the simple gesture of teaching him how to swim.

Flash ahead to his teens, along with Chiron (Ashton Sanders) can be coming to grips with his sexuality, which makes him a target for more abuse along with bullying. Acting on those feelings affords a fleeting moment of exhilaration, although like so much in his life, cruelty can be never far away coming from kindness. Even his mother’s slurred expression of affection toward him, saying, “You’re my only,” feels tainted under the circumstances.

The final chapter introduces Chiron going by the nickname Black (Trevante Rhodes), today a young man, whose path has been laid out, in hindsight, by everything of which preceded This specific introduction. of which’s a sobering realization of which slowly peels back the ramifications of having been an outcast, while leaving questions — through Black reconnecting with his past — about the ability to break coming from those cycles.

Much of the early film-festival coverage of “Moonlight” singled of which out as an exploration in particular of black masculinity, eliciting additional comparisons to the gay themes to “Brokeback Mountain.” although the movie proves universal in its coming-of-age aspects, due in no modest part to the astonishing work by the young actors chosen as Little/Chiron along with his peers, as well as Ali, Harris along with singer Janelle Monae (in a strong acting debut) as the latter’s girlfriend.

The modestly scaled film’s gritty corners along with vacant lots are a far cry coming from glamorous, fun-in-the-sun screen depictions of Miami. Yet if the city has seldom looked worse, “Moonlight” shines in a host of different ways.

“Moonlight” opens October 21. of which’s rated R.

'Moonlight' shines as coming-of-age tale

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