Is Moonlight really the best film of the year?

It’s years since I wanted to rush out to see a film just because it won Best Picture at the Oscars – I’ve been burnt far too many times. So I went along to “Moonlight” telling myself not to fall for the hype, not to expect too much. But even after lowering my expectations I came away disappointed. It’s a slow –  very, very slow – and crushingly one-dimensional study of homophobia and thwarted passion. (The Chiron-Kevin relationship reminded me a little of the adolescent longing in Gore Vidal’s ground-breaking gay novel “The City and the Pillar”.) When you have a central character who is so unrelentingly passive and inarticulate you really do need a script that generates some kind of dramatic momentum: frenetic, not to say headache-inducing camerawork just isn’t enough. Instead we trudge from one downbeat scene to another. The acting is decent enough, but there really isn’t a single performance that rises above the level of your average mid-budget TV production. I like the idea of seeing Miami from a different demographic point of view – there are barely any. white faces on the screen. But I have this horrible feeling that the Oscar is yet another of Hollywood’s well-meaning acts of condescension. One last point before I forget. Towards the end, out of nowhere, there’s a beautiful thirty-second clip of one of my favourite Caetano Veloso recordings, “Cucurrucucú Paloma”. The surprisingly understated soundtrack is a definite asset, in fact.

PS: Armond White really hated it.

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