Moonlight is an extraordinary film experience about the life of an African-American gay man from boyhood to adulthood. In the blaring, blinding Miami sun, a boy called Little (Alex Hibbert) is hiding from the boys who are harassing him. Heaving chest and panicky eyes tells the story of a boy who has been repetitively bullied. Moonlight tell his story in three segments. The first is called “Little”. Little soon meets Juan (Mahershala Ali). Juan is a crack dealer, but a man with a kind and comforting attitude for the boy. When Juan teaches Little how to swim, it feels like a baptism. Juan takes Little (who’s real name is Chiron) to his home to meet his girlfriend Teresa (singer Janelle Monaë). He needs them as positive forces, like the scene where a distraught Little asks the meaning of a gay slur that’s been obviously thrown at him by his bullies. Words matter. Beside the bullying, Little has a mother, Paula (Naomie Harris), who is falling deeper and deeper into drug addiction. Basically, Little is left to fend for himself, but when she’s at home all that Paula manages to do is make Little feels that he is a burden on her. Little’s only friend at school is Kevin (Jaden Piner), another person that Little can be thankful about. The second segment is called “Chiron”. Chiron is now 16 (and now played by Ashton Sanders). The harassment has increased, and so has his mother’s addiction. When Paula wants him out of the house, Teresa is still around to offer him a place to sleep. But Paula steals the money that Teresa gave to Chiron. And Kevin and Chiron are still friends (teenage Kevin is played by Jharrel Jerome). One early morning on the beach, Kevin kisses Chiron and then masturbates him. Back at school, the violence and the harassment escalates when the bullies pressures and threatens Kevin into hitting Chiron. The third segment fast forwards 10 years and is called “Black”. After time spent in jail, adult Chiron (Trevante Rhodes) has now muscled up and is now a drug dealer. He now goes by the name Black (That‘s what Kevin used to call him.) and lives in Atlanta. Kevin (André Holland) calls him up one night. When Black goes to Miami to reunite with his friend, you feel the longing and the hurt in their conversation. A touching and heartbreaking finale. This is one of the best ensemble cast I have ever seen, they are all astounding. The entire cast is black. Moonlight is such a beautiful, hard and yes, often desperate film. It is as harsh as the blinding sun. But Chiron’s life has to be told, especially these days. I am now at a loss for words. The only thing left to say is: Moonlight is perfect. Direction: perfect. Screenplay: perfect. So far the best film this year.
And the Oscar went to, well, maybe… You probably heard by now about the major screw up with the Best picture envelope. My comment is that, despite that mistake, Moonlight is a worthy Best picture winner. It can be proud of its African-American cast. It is the only LGBTQ themed Best picture winner. Furthermore, Supporting actor winner Mahershala Ali is the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar. Barry Jenkins and Tarell McCraney also won for their powerful screenplay. Bravo!
Based on McCraney’s unproduced play
In moonlight black boys look blue