ALONGSIDE La La Land, Moonlight was one of the big winners of the awards season, picking up the esteemed best picture Oscar.

So with Barry Jenkins’ film making its long-awaited release on DVD and Blu-ray is it worth the hype?

Thankfully the answer is a resounding yes thanks to three powerful performances by Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes who all play the lead character Chiron at different stages of his life.

What it amounts to is a simmering and quietly self assured portrait of a young black man coming to terms with his homosexuality in a rough neighbourhood in Miami.

Moonlight explores three periods in Chiron’s life including youth, adolescence and adulthood and the forces that shape his identity in that time.

He is bullied at school, neglected by his addict mum, is taken under the wing of the area’s drug lord and his only friend is Kevin (again played by three actors Jaden Piner, Jharrel Jerome and André Holland).

The key that unlocks all three time periods in the film is Chiron’s relationship with Kevin and his confusion as that bond goes from friendship to something more.

But the most interesting relationship in Moonlight is the one between Chiron and drug lord Juan (House of Cards’ Mahershala Ali).

With a twisted sense of community, Juan protects Chiron and becomes a father figure wrestling with a sense of guilt that he supplies drugs to the boy’s emotionally absent mum.

Jenkins’ naturalistic style in the director’s chair and his fearless ability to explore the grey areas of a deprived neighbourhood where nothing is as simple as black and white good or evil is what makes this powerful film a success.

Chiron’s inner strength shines through and viewers will no doubt be rooting for him.

But if you are a parent it also makes you want to reach out for your child and protect them from everything life can throw at them.

RATING: 9/10