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Moonlight review: A wondrous emotional tale

By Damon Smith

Twelve-year-old Chiron (Alex Hibbert) is one of the smallest boys in his year and an obvious target for bullies.

Any beatings pale next to the pain inflicted by his mother Paula (Naomie Harris), who is a slave to her drug habit. Her neglect drives Chiron into the arms of dealer Juan (Mahershala Ali) and his girlfriend Teresa (Janelle Monae), who try to provide a stable home environment as he contends with growing pains.

As Chiron grows into an awkward 16-year-old (now played by Ashton Sanders), he recognises his attraction to best friend Kevin (Jharrel Jerome). Many years later, Chiron (now Trevante Rhodes), drives to the diner where Kevin (now Andre Holland) waits tables in order to purge the poison.

Moonlight is a wondrous collaboration between a director at the height of his powers and a great cast who willing to lay themselves emotionally bare for their art.

Five stars

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