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Moonlight Review (2016) | A Stunning Triptych About Finding Yourself

The LGBT issue is real, and people still find it hard to accept. A movie like Moonlight tries to bring it in the vanguard. In a neighborhood that roughhouses the quiet and the mute, where being gay is unacceptable to people, thrives the story of a little boy with hopeful eyes. He is yet to understand and wrap his head around his sexuality, but the people he breathes alongside have stones in their hands. He has to make his way through that dreary path, figure himself out at the same time deal with an invariably cooked mother who is no good for a poor child.

Theme and Interpretation of Moonlight

The Moonlight movie started out with a project called “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue”. Whilst the play couldn’t reach fruition, it certainly made it out big at the end of the day, and came out in the open as something that the world will never forget. I love how the term moonlight acts as a polysemy per se.

While the best one comes straight from the play, of how black still holds as a slander in people’s minds, it is hard to fathom why something as insignificant as the color of one’s skin still gets to be the judge of a person? Like moonlight is white. The juxtaposition of black with white ends up making the black blue (here sad), because the white is dominating. It tries to paint people in its own color. The whites revere its tinge and consider it a privilege to be under their skin. This behavioral pattern is evident in their snobby patronizing acts. Of course, the movie doesn’t paint that black and white picture here, it’s title alone still remains powerful enough to make you think otherwise.

image of Mahershala Ali as Juan teaching Little to swim in Moonlight

While coming to the real theme of the flick, Moonlight still justifies. We get to see three phases of our protagonist’s life, each suggestive of how moonlight shines and wanes with each phase. It stays dormant for a while before showing up once again bright and shiny. There are the ugly phases, the dark ones that are abounding in the flick introducing us to the character’s rough past. It includes the rough neighborhood he is brought up in, his addicted abusive mother and the constant bullying kids. There are those hopeful blotches of him too trying to find himself, his true identity, his accidental acquaintance with himself which cannot be lauded enough. After which he eventually shines out a man.

Direction of Moonlight

Whilst I never came across Barry Jenkins before, I was amazed to discover the poignancy in his frames. They are really really profound. He is quiet with his frames, lets your thoughts sieve in, a perfect helmer of drama. He boldly goes for different angles and gradually crawls it towards the protagonist. The end result is absolutely brilliant. He slowly zooms in and zooms out for emphasis, until he puts his character under his lens. To find action he walks alongside it, with the right profundity.

Even though he was there all along, the movie couldn’t have done without Nicholas Britell‘s extraordinary composition. He helps in delivering you to the right vibes. Whenever the music comes it squeezes out of you emotions that you have been holding on to for the right moment. It’s really deep.

You can buy Moonlight movie from here:

If we take a look at the outstanding actors who play the part of the protagonists in the movie, you will be surprised to find out how each one of them copies each other to perfection. Ranging from Alex R. Hibbert‘s unfazed acting as Little, to Ashton Sanders‘ Chiron, to eventually nailing it with Trevante Rhodes as Black for the better part of the flick. Each one of them was equally riveting.

We can’t certainly overlook Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris and Andre Holland‘s performance either. They all happened to the protagonist like moonlight itself. In phases, shining out for him, on him with erratic blotches of light.

The Final Verdict

The drama is intense. Scenes created are brimming with impactful performances. While it is strictly a drama flick, and might not interest those who are not fans of drama, it certainly should be able to tingle you for the issue it skims.

I highly recommend you watch it even if drama is not your forte.

Check out the trailer of Moonlight movie here:

Demolition Review (2015)

A twisted drama!

Comes another melodramatic venture from the beautiful head of Jean-Marc Vallee, Demolition is a movie not for everyone. Whilst I personally love his direction, in the back of the head I get this feeling it might overwhelm some with apathy.

PLOT OF DEMOLITION

Demolition lets you delve into the head of a guy who goes rogue on account of a recent mishap. Jake Gyllenhaal gets into the skin of Davis, a guy who doesn’t pay much attention to what’s going on around him, until he does. The world we behold then is brimming up with his insanity, and he seems at one point to have reached heights of the inane. Some of his acts seem really fatuous but some instigated. But it is the constant struggle between the two that the director pushes us toward which makes things hard to digest.

BREAKING IT DOWN

Jake Gyllenhaal is, no doubt, outstanding as the protagonist who loses it all in the very beginning frames of the movie. It unfolds into a great sojourn as people make an effort to fathom his fatuous acts, which he justifies through his phenomenal explanatory yet endearing letters to Karen (Naomi Watts), a character we see appear out of the blue. For some moments, you will have a hard time wrapping your head around the mist she appears from. At one junction, I took her for a figment, but then when we see her world unfurling with more twisted people, things kind of sediment.

SUB-PLOT IN DEMOLITION

You see a sub-plot protruding right then with the inclusion of Chris (Judah Lewis) to the tale. The side story comes more as a helping hand to see the thrilling side of demolishing something, a secondary perspective which tries to address a persisting LGBT issue too. It is weird how with those moments with Chris, Karen disappears completely only to return when she is needed for the movie. A sense of disconnect that makes things impalpable. In his strides towards the extraordinaire, Jean-Marc Vallee often misses out on the flick’s substance.

THOSE GYLLENHAAL MOVES

Watching Jake groove to the beats was one of the most amusing and cool parts. His carefree reckless dancing makes you fall in love with him even more. Watching him rip apart everything he thinks beautiful, gives you a silent satisfaction. To feel that relatable urge to annihilate things to tatters, was a reassuring contended sight. Albeit it becomes very difficult to relate to his character after one point, owing to some humorous bits in the movie, which seemed more like a deliberate attempt to aid the movie into reaching its climax, which was also quite fromward from its original steer. But the climax unravels with a punch in a gorgeous fashion that covers up for the indifference that we face midway.

The fact that Julia (the wife) bides by and stays impregnated in Davis’ chores has been beautifully depicted in the Demolition. The way she gets mirrored to him every time goes on to show – no matter how aloof you are from someone your head somehow finds them through regular habits.

Screenplay of Bryan Sipe goes brilliant at times but ambles quietly on a constant high and low road. Chris Cooper does a very thoughtful loving and caring dad that almost breaks you up, if it weren’t for the callous Davis demeanour to put you back in his mood.

DAMAGED SPOILERS AHEAD

One of the most powerful parts of Demolition is Davis’ resurrection, as he feels sorry for his acts, and actually starts to miss Julia. That’s when he pulls himself together to meet a stranger who visits her grave. Mistook for the guy whom she was dating before her death, Davis decides to acknowledge him only to find out he was the guy responsible for the accident. It puts you in your brooding gears.

THE FINAL VERDICT

I could totally understand what the director is feeling when he tries to jog us down through that grieving lane. Unfortunately, he fails to connect us to his thoughts. With demolition, he couldn’t really open up wide and audaciously to the public, which I kind of felt defeats the purpose.

Kapoor and Sons Review (2016)

Kapoor and Sons changes the jaded frontage of dramedy!

It is good to see we are gradually rolling in an era where dramedy is no longer constrained to standing stiff characters, simulated backdrops and shoddy repetitive emphasizing music that we see on Television every day. The change is here, and we have stepped into it in an endearing mannerism.

DIRECTION OF KAPOOR AND SONS

Shakun Batra’s latest Kapoor and Sons walks in with a certain unprocessed aura that is suggestive of a relatable context as you skim through its plot. When you show trivial things, like where the key to the house is placed, it propagates a natural comportment at things that exist the way they do in real life. It is realistically close to how we live. That factor is well milked by Shakun in her direction.

HUMOUR AND PLOT

Comedy is squeezed in galore as there isn’t a moment you stop smiling till things begin to go south for the family. A little instigation and the whole framework uproots into chaos flinging people into the depths of psychosis they aren’t aware of but are living amidst. We have on the platter a dysfunctional family that has a lot of things already screwed-up, as we take a peek into their lives with the arrival of two sons on account of a certain heart-attack mockery that goes awry.

EXTRAORDINARY CHARACTERS

Rajat Kapoor, is at his usual best, as he plays a crunched dad who is terribly close to a failing marriage with Ratna Pathak, the typical Indian mom who has her hands full with chores, and a brain full of complaints. She is a brilliant actress who aces everything she does to perfection. So she manages on with her worrying Mom acts with her ‘perfect’ son Rahul in the vantage played extraordinarily by Fawad Khan. Fawad was the perfect cast, an exceptional choice that we have, who fills in the shoes of Rahul Kapoor in Kapoor and Sons. He brings home the right warmth of brotherly love for his sibling Arjun, and projects a perfection that is rare to find, also in a way reflective of good people in our society. He accepts a challenging role and sees it to fruition without leaving his charismatic zone for a second. He is fluent, candid and understanding. A spectacular blend!

DOWNSIDES OF KAPOOR AND SONS

To have a glimpse into the tawdry side of the flick we have many elements that unfortunately take it downhill too. Sadly the awkward makeup lingering on Rishi Kapoor’s face can’t be ignored. What was terribly sorry to watch was the inexperience Sidharth Malhotra and Alia Bhatt manifest as they end up decimating drama with their unemotional acts. Sidharth’s incapability to react aptly to a sad story playing in front of his eyes, fill you up with indifference. Same goes true for Alia who was a charmer when it came to delivering brilliant comic lines, but time came to show her real acting prowess, where it all mattered, she went down the dodgy lane. Her cuteness obscures the veracity that was the need of the hour.

HOTPOTCH SUB-PLOTS

Also, we cannot completely ignore the script of Kapoor and Sons. We could have lived without including too many hotchpotch side stories to it. The one with the plagiarism of the novel and the revelation was the worst story to have been included as things seemed to be terribly out of place. The latter being the part where we see acting go on dwindling lanes. The Anu aunty plot was well put and executed magnificently. Two brothers single girl seemed straight from “Dan in Real Life” (That guitar scene couldn’t help but remind me of that flick). The reefer bit complacency came straight from the movie “This is Where I Leave You” and would make you question the originality of it. Also, humour hits a rock-bottom there!

Amidst all the confusion and vexation, grandpa with a dying wish to frame a perfect family picture gets lost as a side-plot conundrum. The poetry in it hasn’t been well milked.

The drama of Kapoor and Sons eventually goes from sentient to cheesy as we make a time leap, something which breaks the gloomy flow which I was averse against. Unfortunately the LGBT issue is still frowned upon in Indian mindsets as I heard laughter around me in the theater when serious notes concluded which was kind of sad.

THE FINAL VERDICT

Overall Kapoor and Sons was really great to come out from a soapy cocoon, and discover Fawad the true gem he is, see comedy for the way it should be, and explore natural instinctive acting style that Indian Cinema has been lacking hitherto in a dramedy. An enjoyable hoot made even better with characters like Boobly, Kishore and Wasim who made humour all the way better!

Totally worth your time!