Moonlight (2016) [5/5]

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The tender, heartbreaking story of a young black man’s struggle to find himself, told across three defining chapters in his life as he experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love, while grappling with his own sexuality, and growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami, FL.

The hype has never, ever, ever been so real. And the best birthday present that I ever could have asked for. A marvel -- a modern masterwork of unadulterated understanding. Understanding of isolation, of idiosyncrasies; understanding of care, of compassion; understanding of darkness & disparities, of spectrums, of sexuality; understanding of memories & maliciousness, of (forced) numbness, of nostalgia; understanding of catharsis. Catharsis. The third act of this film is nothing short of the purest shaping and structuring of cathartic cinema. One of, if not the finest sophomore feature of the last half-decade. A miracle of a film... an experience which we are blessed to have exist in our current, rapturously unsympathetic reality.

I've gotta say -- now that I've seen this a second time -- that despite how little of the film he's in, André Holland is MVP for me. And if you loved him in Moonlight, or American Horror Story, or Selma, or 42, or Black or White, or Miracle at St. Anna, or just love him in general, and have yet to check out Steven Soderbergh's The Knick (containing what is, for me, Cliff Martinez's close-to-best score, second only to his work on The Neon Demon), do yourself a favor and watch it ASAP because (it's not only one of the top shows of recent years, but) he gives one of the greatest performances of the decade in it (with regard to television or film). And yes, André, I do, most definitely, want the "Chef's Special." (;

-Eli Hayes