The idea of change caused by the environments that surround us is not a new idea. However, when we see the change up close, it is quite shocking. Moonlight assures us that we have no idea what is going on in another person's life, no matter how close we are to them. It reminds us to be genuine to each other and to trust that the people who surround us always have inner struggles. All three of the actors that portray Chiron give outstanding performances for the different developments in his life. Alex R. Hibbert brings us the sweet innocent child that is known as 'Little' by his peers. Ashton Sanders (Straight Outta Compton) plays a more angsty Chiron, who struggles to prove himself among his friends. Finally, we get the full transformation of Chiron into 'Black'. Trevante Rhodes (Westworld) portrays Chiron as a more mysterious figure who was misled by the environment that he was raised within. We still get a familiar face with Mahershala Ali (House of Cards, Luke Cage, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), but there is not a completely star-studded cast in this indie flick. All of the performances in the film are realistic and often times bring tears to our eyes as we realize that a lot of people go through the similar struggles that Chiron went through.
Another aspect of the film that gives it authenticity are the shots used. Often times, the camera follows the character as if we are walking behind them. This type of behind-the-back shooting places the audience at the same level as the characters, relating to them as equals. Whenever Little is running with his friends, we are running alongside or behind him. These shots also create a mysterious tone when we cannot see the actors's faces. While we are connected to them because we are up close to them, we are also disconnected because we are often unable to see their facial expressions. However, if we were able to see their faces at all times, this film would have probably been an even bigger tearjerker.
The Bottom Line: If you like indie flicks with real-life authenticity and creative filming methods, then this flick is for you.