‘New Moon’ (2022) – Review

New Moon is a subtle reminder that maybe we should still have that little kid inside of us who dreamed those big dreams because life is far too short not to chase the things we love.

New Moon tells the story of Jay Jay and his mother, Edie, whose dreams are illuminated by the new moon in their West Philadelphia backyard. Colman Domingo and Raul Domingo wrote the short film, with the former narrating it.

The short film begins with the song “When You Wish Upon a Star,” playing in the background with Jay Jay dancing to the beat of the tune. Shortly after, his mother screams to turn it down, worried someone would call the cops. Then, we transition to an animated version of Colman Domingo, telling us how he would stay up all night with his mom, listening to her stories. She would tell him stories about her childhood, where she was the youngest of eleven children.

It’s been an incredible year for animation with the release of Marcel the Shell with Shoes On and Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio highlighting how unique and fresh these films can be visually. The thing about New Moon that jumps off the screen is the breathtaking work by the animation team of Jérémie Balais and Jeffig Le Bars (also co-directing with Raul Domingo). They have this delicate color palette that is dark yet inviting, making this world a beautiful place to be in. It’s some of the most impressive animations with colors and attention to detail I’ve ever seen.

The film is narrated by Colman Domingo, who has one of the most soothing voices. However, within that soothing voice, you hear compassion, love, and appreciation for this story he co-wrote (with his husband, Raul). There is nothing more beautiful than art created from that place of love. Throughout New Moon, you hear in his voice how important it is for him to tell this story in his way. In his conversation with Deadline, he said, “New Moon is a short film dedicated to Black mothers and sons and the love that keeps them both inspired through immeasurable hardships.” 

“Just because you wish for it don’t mean it won’t come true.”

I can’t begin to explain how the final moments of this short film wrecked me. I wasn’t prepared to hear those words from Jay Jay’s mother, and I wasn’t ready for the gut punch that ensued when present-day animated Colman stands up with Jay Jay’s mother behind and reiterates the words above (with others that follow). Instead, it took me to two different places, one that reminded me of the broken relationship with my mother and then to my wife, who is the hands that lift me up daily. It reminded me of the important things in life.

Life is one big roller coaster ride that doesn’t come with brakes. We never have complete control over the things that can happen to us. At any given time, whatever we do can be taken away without any questions. New Moon is a subtle reminder that maybe we should still have that little kid inside of us who dreamed those big dreams because life is far too short not to chase the things we love.

Grade: A
Oscar Prospects:
Likely: Best Animated Short Film

Release Date: TBA
Where to Watch: TBA

Ricky Valero
he/him 
@rickyvalero_
Lives in Nashville
Favorite Director: Damien Chazelle
Sign: Aquarius

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