MPAA Rating: R
Director: Berry Jenkins
Starring: Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Shariff Earp
Runtime: 1 hr 51 mins
What It Is: Chiron (Alex Hibbert) is a young boy struggling with his identity. When he meet drug-dealer Juan (Ali) he learns that perhaps it is okay to be who he is. As Chiron (Ashton Sanders) struggles with his mother’s substance abuse he’s also dealing with the bullying at school intensifying. As he grows we see him grow into a hardened individual still not quite certain of his place in the world, or even what or who he loves. What is clear is he wants to be loved, and that it seems is Chiron’s (Trevante Rhodes) only true wish.
What We Think: A breathtaking display in simple filmmaking director Berry Jenkins crafts a loving portrait of an untold story. What is it to be a homosexual black man in such a testosterone fueled city like Miami? From what we can tell it is a difficult journey. One filled with downs so stupifying we as the audience cannot comprehend them. Which actually brings me to a flaw in the film, for me at least. I could not connect to the characters no matter how hard I tried. I saw the situations and felt genuine compassion for the character but never did it grab me by the heart and tear it from me. It’s brutally honest portrayal rings true but for me, it did not connect. I feel as though I’m literally the only person reviewing this that has said this. Nonetheless, I like to remain honest with my audience. Let me know if it connects with you and why I’d love to know.
Our Grade: A-, Almost perfect filmmaking gets lost by my inability to connect with the character. Perhaps it is never having been in these shoes or that the film did not build that enough. Regardless, this is certainly one of the years best. I think Jenkins deserves all the praise he’s receiving and the feat he accomplished here stitching one narrative across three actors and different stages is a marvel to watch. See this. But be prepared for what’s sure to be, for you I hope, an emotional ride. I unfortunately just could not get there.