Moonlight is the story of a young black child growing up with a drug-addicted single mother in an urban neighborhood with all of the problems an urban environment can invite. He’s also trying to find himself in the face of peer pressure.

Story: The best part of this story is the timeline. It’s nice to see the main character age from a little boy to a full grown man. It’s also nice to see a child from a non-traditional household be embraced by strangers out of the goodness of their hearts.

But, some parts of the story come across as primitive. It’s as if we’re waiting for something to happen and it doesn’t happen. I’d like to believe we can chalk this up to intensity, but, intensity without the crescendo is just unrequited. I’ve seen films that like to leave you guessing – make you ask questions, but, this aint that.

Much of the film just seemed to fall off with no explanation. Individually, there are many great moments, but, they just don’t come together very well…

Performances: Again, the individual performances are not so great as much as the mere presence of the characters is more significant. Chiron played by Alex Hibbert/Ashton Sanders/Trevante Rhodes is powerfully quiet.

Naomi Harris as Chiron’s drug- addicted mother is typical as a drug-addicted mother and Janelle Monae as Teresa; The place for Chiron to go as a safe haven is an example of the kindness most black women have in them for children.

But, the most glaring miss is Juan played by Mahershala Ali. He finds Chiron – Feeds him, gives him his safe haven in Teresa, takes him under his wing in the beginning of the film, then disappears. At some point, there’s no further discussion of Juan or where he is.

Heartfelt scenes for sure… gritty characters, but, no Oscar performances here…

Visual: While most of it is obviously shot in Miami, I’m not sure all of it is supposed to be set in Miami. Some of it was supposed to be set in Atlanta… But it all looks like Miami.

The casting of Chiron from young boy to teenager to young man is spot on and one of the best elements of the film.

The Director did, however, get the costuming and props spot on. The old tricked out cars are the best display of the environment and the references to low-income housing neighborhoods can’t be denied… It all looks the part…

Rating: Moonlight, while an independent darling, gets a B- from me. The subject matter is clearly the star of the show, but, there are too many question marks and disconnects to call it a movie masterpiece.

This film is a series of scenes; Appreciate the individual moments and the pieces-parts of this film, not the project as a whole.