Review: Moonlight (Screenplay) by Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney

This review contains *spoilers*.

I recently watched the masterpiece that is Moonlight and to say that I was utterly blown away would not be at all an exaggeration. It’s the kind of movie that sticks with you. Covering issues of race, discrimination, sexuality, m/m love, coming of age, and so much more. I can’t get over how wide-spanning and game-changing this film is. To quote this articleMoonlight also became the first film with an all black cast, the first LGBT film and the second lowest-grossing film domestically (behind The Hurt Locker) to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Also, THAT ENDING!!!. Dev Patel and Andrew Garfield said it best when:

I vividly remember thinking during one particular scene in the film, I wonder how this was written down in the script… So I was beyond ecstatic to get to read the screenplay so soon after seeing the film.  And as you might’ve guessed, Moonlight was just as spectacular on page as it was on the big screen. (Plus, we get extra scenes that didn’t make it into the final cute.) (AND A DIFFERENT – BUT STILL SIMILAR – ENDING!!)

I had so many favorite scenes in Moonlight – and since the film is divided into three parts, it’s quite a number – so I’ll just start sharing:

warning: I get overly excited.

“JUAN
You don’t talk much but you damn 
sure can eat.

Teresa smiling. 


TERESA
That’s alright, baby. You talk when 
you ready.

Little looking up from his plate at that, something about Teresa’s voice, her presence, clicking with him. 


LITTLE
My name Chiron.
(and)
But people call me Little.

TERESA
I’m gon’ call you by your name.”

This was my favorite introduction scene. Made me grow appreciative of Teresa and Juan that more.  And like the brilliant Mahershala Ali, who plays Juan in the film, said best about his character:

“JUAN
So how you like swimmin’?

Nothing from Little. Heard him but the words too heavy to present themselves.

JUAN
That good, huh?”

I cherished the above scene even more when we had it come back between Little and Kevin in a later part:

“KEVIN
…this dude reminded me of you.

Beat.

BLACK
What’d he play?

A long pause from Kevin, the song wedging itself in his thoughts right now, pushing everything aside.

BLACK
That good, huh?”

Made a megawatt smile appear on my face.

“TERESA
(playful)
Think you slick, huh? Do it wrong so Teresa show up and do it right,
huh?
(laughs)

TERESA (CONT’D)
You and Juan, thick as thieves,
lemme tell you.

Teresa looking to Chiron for that last part, what begins as a smile slowly fading, shifting to something more reflective, heavy.

TERESA
You miss him?

Chiron holding her gaze, his silence answer enough.

TERESA
Yeah.
Me too.

Beat.

TERESA
Me too.”

I was devastated when I found out about Juan.

“KEVIN
Hell, shit make you wanna cry, feel
so good.


Chiron looking to Kevin now:

CHIRON
You cry?

KEVIN
Nah. But it make me want to.

Kevin flashing that big, cool ass smile.

KEVIN
What you cry about? You cry, Chiron?

Beat.

CHIRON
I cry so much sometimes I think one
day I’m gone just turn into drops.”

That last line impacted me so much that I wrote it down the minute I heard it in the film.

Last but not least, I’m sharing one of the most iconic exchange between two romantically involved characters:

“BLACK
You’re the only man who’s ever
touched me.

The air going out of Kevin’s chest, his gaze fixated on Black’s lips, anticipating the words falling from there:

BLACK
The only one.

Black’s hand is flat atop the table between them. His eyes lower to it:

BLACK
I haven’t really touched anyone,
since.”

THIS REMAINS ONE OF THE MOST LIVELY LINES EVER!!!

Reading the screenplay set me up in this continues loop of reading and then rewatching and then rereading and watching again. HELP.

And since there are so many more scenes I want to share, I was thankful to find this post that sums them up pretty greatly:

Real talk, Moonlight has my whole heart in the palm of its fictional hands. This film deserves every award and recognition it’ll receive in the near future. And I hope it collects a whole lot.

P.S. I love this screenplay even more for opening up my world to the fact that I can read the screenplays of my favorite films.

5/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying any of the books I mention, just click HERE to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

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