The script and direction by Barry Jenkins conjure up those exact feelings within the film, and he does so with a delicate skill but subtle precision.
The film’s screenplay is based on In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue a shelved play written a decade ago by Tarell Alvin McCraney. Jenkins uses that story to create a film that gives you a lot to think about.
Dividing the narrative into three parts, each section reveals a different side to the central character of Chiron - a boy with a drug addict mother who endures the difficulty that comes with being gay.
Each section of the story representing a different fragment of the character - childhood, adolescence and adulthood.
Each ultimately asking one question - What does it mean to grow up as a black gay man? The answer is complicated and full of regrettable decisions.
We follow Chiron witnessing the various challenges, decisions and circumstances all of which build him to the man we see in his adulthood.
The film is a wonderful character study and gives its so supporting players a lot to sink into.
Mahersala Ali rightfully deserves all the awards he is receiving as he brings a refreshing take on the usual role as drug dealer, injecting the boss with a compassion and sensitivity not often seen with such roles.
Jenkins delivers a story dripping in style and in doing so helps avoid the expected pitfalls. It is nominated for 8 Oscars this year and it is understandable why.
The film uses restraint in it's limited moments of intimacy between Chiron and his friend Kevin, but it ultimately enforces that it's not a story about lust but connection and understanding.
Moonlight may not be a film for everyone, but it's a film everyone should be encouraged to see.