7.5/10 Even though 2016’s “Moonlight” was overrated and undeserving of the Best Picture Oscar, it was a great movie that I put in my Top 10 Best Films of 2016 List. Barry Jenkin’s follow up is not quite as good, but there is still some talented film making chops on display in this film. The biggest stand out to me was the score. In my “First Man” review, I labeled it the best score of 2018 but I have to admit that this is right up there with it. It is really hard determining which had a better score. Since “First Man” was snubbed for a Best Original Score nomination, of the remaining films nominated, this easily deserved to win it (although it lost to “Black Panther”). In addition to the gorgeous score, the cinematography was excellent with its uses of close ups and how it meshes with the editing during dialogue heavy scenes. The acting across the board is also top notch and Regina King’s Best Supporting Actress win is well deserved. The film looks and sounds beautiful and when the film starts to slow down, it’s always punctuated with an intense or emotionally powerful moment to draw us right back in. That being said, there are some problems with the film. The biggest problem is probably the story. It is a story we have seen before and so often in recent years that it is starting to become its own sub-genre of films. Luckily though, Jenkins is smart enough at the end of the film to still make the film relevant to today’s times without bashing us over the head with a cinematic mallet and really hurt the ending like Adam McKay did with “Vice” and Spike Lee did with “BlackKklansmen” earlier in 2018. So despite some clichés in the story, Jenkins handles the subject matter with grace and subtlety. One problem the film has is that it does start very slowly. Certain scenes drag on longer than they need to and certain unnecessary moments could have been cut out completely to save time and improve upon the pacing. Luckily the film picks it up in the second half and maintains a steady pacing but the first 45 minutes can be a struggle to get through at times. Overall this film doesn’t quite reach the high bar that “Moonlight” set for Jenkins as a director (and I have mixed feelings about the inconsistent use of voiceover narration) but he still proves he is a director worth following and I hope he branches out a bit in terms of storyline/plot for his next film so he can push his limits as a director and get out of his comfort zone a little bit.

#RightInTheBeales / #BealeiveAllWomen / #SlurredOnTheStreetIs / #22BealeStreet / #TheReginaKingsSpeech / #LockedUp

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