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« Movies gobbled up tickets on Thanksgiving Weekend | Main | Podcast: The Favourite, Creed 2, and Shoplifters »
Monday
Nov262018

Beauty vs Beast: Black Boys Looking Blue

Jason from MNPP here, still a little stuffed with turkey but ready for this week's "Beauty vs Beast" poll nonetheless - Barry Jenkins' fine new film If Beale Street Could Talk is hitting screens in a couple of weeks, and so we turn our eyes upon 2016's most deserving Best Picture Winner Moonlight to prepare. It seems likely that the film's Best Supporting Actor winner Mahershala Ali will at least be nominated again this year, if not win, for his best-in-show work in Green Book, which I have few qualms with. But it does remind that I never understood why Naomie Harris' work in Moonlight went unrecognized at the Oscars, as she was best in that show for me. Granted her character is much more difficult to root for than Ali's conflicted dealer is...

PREVIOUSLY Before the holiday we had ourselves a Fassy-Off, facing down two of Michael Fassbender's best perfomances for director Steve McQueen, and I guess TFE loves itself a sex addict because Shame's Brandon swung himself three-quarters of your vote. Said Sarah:

"I love both of these performances but I went with Hunger in the poll mostly because of the "foal" speech he gives which I love but Shame is a real powerhouse performance. It's a shame (heh) how people were so preoccupied with the full frontal that they don't give the performance (and the film and Mulligan) the credit it deserves."

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Reader Comments (15)

I love Moonlight like most but feel Harris is miscast and utterly underwhelming and obvious in it,she never convinced me as a lifelong drug addict,her performance is all surface.

For the real emotion in the film look to Trevante Rhodes but who was also dreadful in the atrocious The Predator.

November 26, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

I don't know exactly why, but Mahershala Ali as Juan in Moonlight just makes me tear up, something about him just speaks to my soul. So DUH, Team Juan all the way.

November 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Team Juan for sure. I'm not crazy about Ali (good but not awards worthy unlike the other male actors who should've gotten more notice) but he wins by default. Harris is decent in pt 1, terrible in pt 2 and great in pt 3. Too uneven to get my support.

The real mvp of this movie is Andre Holland though. What soulful and sexy performance.

November 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMya

We all know Viola should have been lead and Naomie should have won. Her image at back of the hallway still haunts me.

November 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Performance wise they're hand in hand for me. Both superb, both brilliantly adding depth and emotion to their characters. Ali shines all the dark and less flattering qualities of a character with whom we mostly sympathize on screen, while Harris humanizes a character with whom we don't (on screen).

November 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAlexD

I don't think Harris digs deep enough to make her feel real,like she's gone through something,although she I think admitted she was cast very late.

November 26, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Both of the actors are absolutely stellar. I voted Juan because of the character.

November 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Both characters end up haunting Chiron in their own ways, but I think this one goes to Juan. Juan gets both the most joyous moment (swimming lesson) and the most heartbreaking ("Do you sell drugs?") in the film. He's probably not what Chiron should aspire to be, but at least he inspires a sad boy in some way. I love how Paula asks Chiron about his dreams, not seeming to know that she's the monster in them.

I thought Naomi Harris did a wonderful job. Paula clearly loves this kid, but she's also this destructive force. I thought she was especially good at the beginning, where we get a peek at a "functioning" addict. When we first see her in those scrubs, she could just be taken for a harried mom that just got off work. So much storytelling with such a small detail. I'm never not moved or amazed by this movie.

November 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterVal

Barry Jenkins' fine new film If Beale Street Could Talk is finally hitting some screens this weekend

Inaccurate by three weeks.

November 26, 2018 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Bahh right you are /3rtful -- they must have shifted the date since when I'd added it to my calendar. Thanks for the heads-up, the post has been edited.

November 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Harris makes a lot of bold choices - I don’t think they all pan out but it’s risky, layered work in a part I think could be way more one note than it is. And the scene with Juan is probably her best, but that just brings me back to how awesome Ali is. It’s a generous, deft, and incredibly suggestive performance that buoys everyone lucky enough to share a scene with him while still adding his own character beats. Genius, genius work in one the film’s many indelible characters.

November 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNick T

Having tangentially seen several long term addicts in my life, Harris is really good.

November 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLeshawn

This is such a beautiful film.

Totally disagree about Harris not "digging deep" enough or being uneven in the film. I just ... don't see that. I think it's an incredible performance. Ali still gets my vote, though.

November 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJJM

Harris filmed all of her scenes in 3 days which makes her performance all the more amazing

November 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLowey

Team Juan for sure, but Harris is incredible in Moonlight.

November 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

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