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A timeless story of human self-discovery and connection, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.
A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia; 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.
Mia, an aspiring actress, serves lattes to movie stars in between auditions and Sebastian, a jazz musician, scrapes by playing cocktail party gigs in dingy bars, but as success mounts they are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart. Written by
When the camera focuses on the traffic scene before the opening number "Another Day of Sun" begins, one of the radio stations in the background plays a short snippet of a song from Damien Chazelle's directorial debut Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2009) called "It Happened at Dawn." See more »
When Sebastian is playing the opening piano solo for "Start a Fire" and he looks out into the crowd to smile at Mia, the people around Mia are already moving their heads to the main rhythm of the song (which hasn't kicked in yet) See more »
If a producer is going to deconstruct a genre, the producer owes it to the audience to warn them early on (like in "Purple Rose of Cairo" or "Unforgiven"). This film, which has been lavishly praised, earns my visceral hatred because it did not do so, and I frankly cannot recall a movie which has ever triggered that sort of reaction even though I have seen thousands of them.
I went to this movie because I was in the mood for a warm, "feel good" movie. The promo's and a goodly part of the film deliver that "feel good" warmth, like The Artist, but this time, as an updated classic song-and-dance film of the 1930's to 1950's. You can also see the homages, like those to Astaire/Rodgers and Kelly, as well as a knowing glance to a key scene in "Rebel Without a Cause". Sounds just like what I wanted.
But about two-thirds of the way through, something begins to change (no spoilers here). The crack widens until the end, which at least one review has called bittersweet. For me, I felt rage. I got conned, without warning, into seeing the kind of movie I did not want to see. So you bet I'm angry.
In terms of the mechanics, the film does not quite follow the basic lines of an early song-and-dance musical. Invariably, there is a secondary subplot involving different characters who, depending on the film, build tension, contrast, or comic relief. None of that existed here, although there were some opportunities which never bore fruit. Perhaps some more false leads by the writer? I saw them as distracting dead ends.
There are also a number of plot holes which are annoying, a couple of which involve cell phones and unexchanged cell phone numbers that would have happened in real life. Any musical expects people to suspend disbelief, but the suspension of disbelief is generally in the musical parts, not the narrative.
Two of the best parts of the movie were the acting by the two leads-- excellent. They were also game at the singing and dancing, and clearly worked darn hard to do a great job. But to be honest, Gosling's singing (a presumed effort to mimic Astaire's approach) was not good, and Stone's dancing didn't hold a candle to a really trained, talented dancer (like the lead in the opening number).
You can make musicals which have twists, like the ending in West Side Story, but they don't pretend to be homages--they make it clear, up front, they are something different. So, for ruining my Sunday afternoon, I give this movie a 1.
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