"Devastating drama...of black gay masculinity" is The Guardian's headline review of this year's Best Picture Oscar winner. I don't disagree, although a slightly different thought struck me as the credits rolled.
Drama. Every review I've seen seems to start by wanting to jam the film into this category. But, had the intense yearning felt by Chiron at the heart of the story been for a girl, instead of Kevin, would the movie have been viewed rather more as a tragic, soulful romance? I wonder.
The truth is that Barry Jenkins' masterpiece defies genre or easy classification; Moonlight is too ambitious to be contained.
It is simultaneously subdued and radical: you won't see car chases or shootouts here (the script in fact makes a point of resisting such cliches), instead, the images Jenkins presents are even more striking - of affection, tenderness and love between black men. Specifically black men.
In some ways it is sad that seeing black masculinity depicted like this seems so jarring. Several times I braced for an explosion of violence and barbarity, only to find a scene of profound lyrical beauty in its place.
Originally conceived as a play, make no mistake this is pure cinema, acted and directed masterfully.
Incredibly, the Oscars got it right.