Moonlight depicts a few different times during the life of Chiron, an African-American man who grew up surrounded by violence, drugs and poverty. It’s not exactly a linear story, but more a series of moments from his life. It’s rough and, at times, hard to watch. It raises the question of how can one person live their own truth when any sign of difference is seen as a weakness to be exploited and destroyed.
This is one of those slow-moving films that I find I either love or very much dislike. Moonlight is one which I loved despite the sadness it brings. It’s a tough film, it’s hard to watch characters get damaged and have so much pain, both inside and out. One of my favourite scenes in the film is when Chiron is making a bed with Teresa, pretty much the only person in his life that he truly trusts. She manages to get him to smile, and there is a moment of hope. Just a moment.
Moonlight won Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Mahershala Ali), Best Adapated Screenplay and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Naomie Harris), Best Achievement in Directing (Barry Jenkins), Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Film Editing and Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score). It won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Mahershala Ali), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Naomie Harris), Best Direct – Motion Picture (Barry Jenkins), Best Screenplay (Barry Jenkins) and Best Original Score – Motion Picture. It was nominated for BAFTAs for Best Film, Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali), Best Supporting Actress (Naomie Harris) and Best Screenplay (Original) (Barry Jenkins).
Luke Cage (Mike Coulter) is a muscular bloke who is living under an assumed name after coming out of prison for a wrongful conviction. And is is unkillable – bullets bounce off him, and he is incredibly strong. He’s just trying to get through life, dealing with the grief of losing a loved one, working crappy jobs and keeping his head down. Meanwhile, politician Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard) is trying to build up Harlem for all of the African American residents – build it up whilst avoiding gentrification from white society. However, she’s being dogged by her cousin Cornell Stokes (Mahershala Ali), a wonderfully Shakespearean criminal overlord who has used her misappropriated money for nefarious purposes and is going to bring them all down.
There is a lot to like about this show. It’s cast is fabulous, the world they have created is stunning and I just love Luke. And the recurring character of Clare Temple (Rosario Dawson) is just getting better and better. But I think my favourite part of the show is that Cornell Stoke runs his empire from a club that has fabulous live acts – it was wonderful to see Charles Bradley, and then my heart almost broke when the late and wonderful Sharon Jones appeared. Too good.
Having not posted my review for the first part of Mockingjay until after watching this one, I was pretty surprised at how excited I’d been. Given how much I was bored during the second part.
While the books kept my attention right through to the end, this film bored me deeply. I couldn’t care about how it all ended – despite going it at the start loving it. Yes, it follows the same mood and world created, but *yawn* I just got sick of it.
So Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is sick of being the ‘face’ of the rebellion, so she sneaks off to do her own thing. Only then she ends up with a crew around her. And stuff happens. For me, not enough action, and these last two films should have been just the one.
I’d been bit concerned that I’d lost my Hunger Games mojo… I couldn’t really recall the second film, and while I was very interested in seeing how they deal with the intense darkness of the third book, if the second film hadn’t stuck in my mind, would it be worth it? Me and a couple of mates watched the first two films in the lead up to Mockingjay and it still wasn’t sticking – though I was feeling a lot of love for the character and the overall story.
If you haven’t seen the first two and want to, here’s a big spoiler alert.
At the end of Catching Fire, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) had been rescued from the arena and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) had been left behind. Katniss is now with the resistance of District Thirteen, under the rule of President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and guidance of Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman). But, she is not willing to just be their face, they need to let her find her leadership, and she does. In the meantime, a whole heap of people die and are injured, and rebellion is happening all over the place.
It’s quite a slow film in that there is a lot of ground to cover. It seems to be the thing to break single books into multiple films and it sometimes works well (Harry Potter) and sometime less so (The Hobbit), but this seems to be a case of needing to split it. The really dark stuff is yet to come, although the end of this film saw the first hints of it. I just wish they didn’t make us wait a whole year for it – I know, I know, it’s all about the money, but I want it NOW!!!
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song – Motion Picture.