Blu-ray Review: Moonlight
By John Corrado
Days after winning a trio of much deserved Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali’s immaculate performance as a kind drug dealer, Best Adapted Screenplay and finally Best Picture, Moonlight is now available on Blu-ray, and at this point I couldn’t recommend it any more highly.
The story of a young black man growing up gay in a rough part of Miami, that focuses on three key times in his life as a child (Alex R. Hibbert), teenager (Ashton Sanders) and adult (Trevante Rhodes), the film was my pick for the best movie of 2016, and its resonance and importance has only grown over the last few months.
By now, we all know the story of how Moonlight won Best Picture in a thrilling turn of events after a mixup with the wrong envelope initially led Warren Beaty and Faye Dunaway to mistakenly announce La La Land as the winner, in the most memorable and exciting moment I have ever witnessed watching the Oscars. The moment felt cathartic, an example of justice finally being served and the right film being awarded at the very last moment in a twist that saw the underdog candidate literally overtaking the expected winner in the most dramatic fashion possible. For multiple reasons, it almost felt like karma.
But this historical footnote of how the award came to be announced, as exciting as it may be, shouldn’t take away from the conversation around the film itself. This is the first film with an all black cast to ever win Best Picture at the Oscars, as well as the first film about openly gay characters to win the award, and now more than ever diversity like this matters. The fact that Moonlight is also one of the finest films that the Academy has ever awarded their top prize also shouldn’t be understated.
This is a film that feels both intimate and expansive in the way it captures the story of a life and how it is changed by defining moments along the way, a work that is beautifully shot and masterfully performed, ending on a note that is as blindingly powerful for what it represents as it is for all it leaves unsaid. It’s a true work of art that you should seek out as soon as possible on Blu-ray, especially if you haven’t seen it yet. For more on the film itself, you can read my full review right here.
The Blu-ray also includes a commentary track with director Barry Jenkins, as well as a trio of very well done featurettes. The first one Ensemble of Emotion: Making Moonlight offers moving interviews with the cast and crew discussing their personal connections to the story, Poetry Through Collaboration: The Music of Moonlight offers a fascinating look at Nicholas Britell’s inventive and minimalistic score that mixes elements of classical music and hip hop, and Cruel Beauty: Filming in Miami discusses both the challenges and unique benefits they faced in shooting on location.
Moonlight is an Elevation Pictures release. It’s 111 minutes and rated 14A.