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

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Review: Joy by David O. Russell

tumblr_nrjacqvhoo1sjpbxoo8_r1_540I was desperate to get my hands on the screenplay of Joy since it’s my all-time favorite movie. I consider it to be a favorite both for its inspiring story and the impact it left on me.

Joy tells the story of a family across four generations centered on the girl who becomes the woman who founds a business dynasty and, in the process, recovers her childhood magic and finds her place in the world.

It features incredible relationships between families, friends, and very distinct and different women. I hold this movie very close to my heart, the impact it made on me (and my mom) will forever stay with me.

And so I decided to share my favorite quotes and scenes featured in the screenplay:

“YOUNG PEGGY
You need a handsome prince. That’s what you need, a prince.

YOUNG JOY
No, I don’t need a prince. This is a special power. (Holds paper bird magically aloft.) I don’t need a prince.”

“RUDY
You know what you are? You’re like a gas leak. We don’t smell you, we don’t see you but you’re killing us all, silently.”

“TONY
Maybe your dreams are on hold for now.

JOY
That’s a nice way of putting it.”

And this next scene is one of my all-time favorite scenes between Joy and her daughter:

Upstairs, Joy runs the bath.

CHRISTY
Lauren Wells said you were a cleaning lady and sell used mops.

JOY
Lauren Wells said that?

She pulls Christy’s sweater over her head.

CHRISTY
Yeah, and it really hurt my feelings.

Joy brushes Christy’s hair to the side.

JOY
First of all, even if I was a cleaning lady, so what, there’s no shame in hard work. And second of all I’m trying to sell a new mop, not used mops. And third of all don’t, don’t take any guff from anybody. You know, don’t let it in. I know it’s hard.

Christy and she share a stare together.”

“JOY
One small thing. I’ll surprise you.

NEIL WALKER
Okay, surprise me.

Joy closes door and Neil waits patiently.

What would be the small thing that she changes?

Joy opens the door again, looks at Neil unblinking with her hair half down, now dressed in a white blouse and pants.

What? You undid the whole thing.

JOY
This is me.

NEIL WALKER
This is you? You’ve got on the exact same outfit you had when you came in here.

JOY
I wear a blouse and I wear pants. That’s who I am. I’m want to go on as me.”

I love her for being and believing in herself.

“CHRISTY
Mimi said you’re the one born to help carry the family to success.

JOY
(irritably)

No, Christy, Mimi was wrong. The world will not give you opportunities, the world will destroy your opportunities and break your heart. I should have listen to my mother when I was ten years old. I should have spent the rest of my life watching TV and hiding from the world like my mother. So I don’t want to hear any more about Mimi. She was wrong, she had her head in the clouds and it was full of stupid ideas and it gave me stupid ideas. Like this, stupid, stupid idea.”

Jennifer Lawrence executed this scene on screen with such excellence and fierceness and despair written on her face.

And the next moment she shared with the man who almost stole her business rights from under her was one of the most powerful moments for me. Joy’s strength is ineffable.

“DALLAS MAN
We’ll pay you back all the royalties you paid us.

Joy stares steadily without moving, says nothing.

I’ll give you twenty-five thousand on top of paying you back the fifty.

Joy looks down, brushes her lap off, then looks out the window into the light outside.

Okay. I’ll give you fifty thousand on top of paying you back the fifty.

Joy turns her unflinching gaze from the window back to the man across the room. She says nothing.

Plus interest.”

This taught me that silence can speak volumes, which I consider to be one of the most important lessons.

“GRANDMA MIMI
(voice-over)

She put up with just about anything, until when she had to bring the hammer down. She brought the hammer down. You don’t become a boss without learning how to do that.”

The beauty and power of that line stopped me cold.


Joy was, to put it bluntly, a life-changing experience for me and my gratitude for it continues to be galaxy-sized.

Also, I loved that the screenplay featured stills from the film:joy-1-bookspoilsjoy-2-bookspoilsjoy-3-bookspoilsI also had to listen to this beautiful song on repeat:

4.5/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Joy, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!