Moonlight (2016, Barry Jenkins)

It’s 2017 but I’ve still got eighteen 2016 movies to catch up with. I won’t spend much time on this one since it was everybody’s favorite and there’s a ton of writing about it. Three episodes in the life of Little/Chiron/Black, played by different actors. First he finds a substitute family with Miami drug dealer Juan (Mahershala Ali) and his wife (Janelle Monae), then he begins discovering his sexuality with a friend named Kevin, and finally he’s a drug dealer himself in the image of Juan. As with Certain Women, the third part is overwhelmingly great. Trevante Rhodes as the oldest Chiron gives a sensitive performance that allows his shy younger selves to slowly bleed through the gangster facade as he reconnects with Kevin.

Bonus points for “Classic Man” and the Hokusai poster, right after we rewatched Kubo over Thanksgiving, making this the fourth Hokusai-referencing movie of the year. We listened to an interview with the director discussing Chiron’s mother’s similarity to his own mother, and marveled at the fact that Naomie Harris appears in all three episodes and shot all her scenes in three days.