“Moonlight” (2016) and “Silence” (2016)

Blowhard, Esq. writes:


silencecoverI found the experience of watching these movies to be very similar. In both we’re presented with characters suffering a great deal, the movies demand that we regard them as saints, yet virtually no attempt is made to dramatize their suffering. The filmmakers just take it for granted that we’ll be as moved by the subject matter as they are.

EDIT: It occurs to me that JACKIE belongs in this category, too.


About Blowhard, Esq.

Amateur, dilettante, wannabe.
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7 Responses to “Moonlight” (2016) and “Silence” (2016)

  1. JV says:

    Haven’t seen any of these yet, but your description is kind of what I was afraid of about these movies. Saintly figures with no resemblance to actual human beings going through unimaginable suffering. Secular Christ stories for the digital age, that’s really what Oscar bait comes down to. I kind of wish these filmmakers got their religion in church and told human stories instead.


    • These movies made me appreciate Gibson’s THE PASSION all the more.


      • JV says:

        I don’t like that Gibson focused SO MUCH on the suffering, but yeah, The Passion is undeniably a great movie. And at least the subject is, you know, Jesus, so all the saintliness has some cultural/historical heft.

        What a complex character Gibson is. Definitely a nut, and his dad is a piece of fucking work, but his directorial output since Braveheart is unimpeachable. And he’s making a comeback after all the drunken anti-Semitism. Quite a feat.


  2. Revyen says:

    So Silence is not worth watching?


  3. How do you explain the enthusiasm for “Moonlight”? Does it have many virtues as an entertainment thing?


    • After the Academy’s #OscarsSoWhite debacle last year, there was a real rush on the part of critics to praise black filmmakers. When THE BIRTH OF A NATION premiered at Sundance, the critics lined up to lavish it wish superlatives and Oscar buzz was in the air. Then, whoops, it was revealed that the director had a dicey sexual past, so the praise stopped, the movie bombed, and was quickly buried. I think a lot of the positive reaction to MOONLIGHT is leftover enthusiasm for THE BIRTH OF A NATION. Also, the movie is “intersectional” — it explores race and sexual orientation — so its politics could hardly be more in tune with those of our elites.

      That’s my ultra-cynical explanation, anyway. The non-cynical explanation is that people are really responding to the performances. I’ve heard many people grant that the story has problems, but they seem to really love the actors. The visual design has a very humid, overheated, colorful look that gives it some atmosphere too.


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