Moonlight and 12 years a slave were both awarded with best picture in recent editions of the Oscars. It seems that members of the academy are more open to films written by minorities than even before.
Although these two convincing movies differ in narraative styles, plot and settings. They both have in common the use of a non-standard English. I find them very difficult to understand, in fact.
The theme of social exclusion in Moonlight and that of slavery in 12 years as a slave are main features of these two films so you will find a brilliant description of black comunities in very different times. Another key feature in both film is very impressive acting.
One particular weakness of the B Jenkins’ film is a predicatable plot that follows a theatrical structure in 3 acts, making it even more flat. There is a world of difference between it and Steve McQueen’s movie which is much more moving and dynamic.
Another thing which compares unfavourably betweeen the two is the cinematography. While Moonlight uses a rather modern aprroach with moderate success, 12 years as a slave is full of elegancy and delightfulnesss.
To sum up, both films are certainly work watching, especially if you fancy dramas and social commentary films. However, 12 year as a slave is a much more gripping story and so is its filmopraphy. I would probably recommend seeing both of them if you have time or you have interest in black films.