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Friday 17th
posted by Morning Star in Arts

Eight Oscar nominations for compelling drama are well-deserved, says MARIA DUARTE

Moonlight (15)
Directed by Barry Jenkins

With eight Oscar nominations this intimate and compelling study of a young black man’s struggle to find himself and grapple with his sexuality continues to make its stand-out mark this awards season and deservedly so.

Based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s semi autobiographical play there is nothing theatrical about director Barry Jenkins’s wonderfully cinematic screenplay, which provides a fresh take on the coming-of-age genre.

It also explores black masculinity in a way never seen before on the big screen. It shows the lead character, played by three different actors — as a young boy Little (Alex R Hibbert — pictured), a teenager Chiron (Ashton Sanders) and Black who is in his early 20s (Trevante Rhodes) — battle with school bullying, his crack addicted mother (Oscar nominated Naomie Harris) and his own sexuality through three stages of his life growing up in a rough area of Miami.

Harris, who is the only actor to feature in all three stories, gives an extraordinary performance, while Mahershala Ali earned an Oscar nod for his portrayal of Juan, a drug dealer who befriends Little and offers him sanctuary from his turbulent life.

But it is newcomer Hibbert who virtually steals the film with his touching and moving performance as Little.

It is a tender, heartbreaking yet compelling drama of a young man battling against all the odds and deserves all the accolades it has been nominated for.

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