7.2 Moonlight (2016)
7.0 Medicine for Melancholy
6.5 If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
Barry Jenkins (USA, 1979) debuted with
Medicine for Melancholy (2008).
Moonlight (2016) follows the painful psychological transformation of an individual from childhood to adulthood. The first two parts are powerful and austere, but the third one is pretty much a waste of time.
The film fast forwards to Chiron as a teenager. He is still persecuted by the same gang, led by Terrel, and hangs out with Teresa, but Juan is dead. When Chiron comes home, the neurotic and even more addicted Paula takes whatever money Teresa gave him. Kevin is still his only friend. One day, as a melancholy Chiron is sitting on the beach, Kevin kisses him and masturbates Chiron, who enjoys it. Terrel, however, forces Kevin to punch Chiron. Kevin does it, and Chiron does not defend himself. Then Terrel and his buddies brutally attack Chiron who is lying on the floor. Chiron refuses to tell the school's principal who attacked him, but one day he grabs a chair and smashes it onto Terrel's head. The police arrest him and he goes to jail.
The film now fast-forwards to a young man Chiron, who has become a drug dealer in another city after being released from jail. His mother begs him to visit her and eventually he does so. She has cleaned up and misses him, while tearfully admitting that she was a bad mother. Kevin, now a chef, calls him after ten years of silence to apologize for the behavior that caused Chiron's troubles. Chiron doesn't quite know what to say but then drives all the way to Kevin's restaurant. Initially they cannot quite strike a conversation, but then Chiron tells Kevin that he has become a drug dealer, and Kevin tells Chiron that he had a son with one of the high-school girls. Chiron is still a man of few words, but slowly Kevin understands that Chiron has driven all the way for a reason. At Kevin's place Chiron admits that he has never had sex after being touched by Kevin. Kevin hugs him.
If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) is a faithful adaptation of James Baldwin's novel.