So I just recently watched the 8 Academy Award Nominated film, Moonlight. This coming of age film touches on the important issues that tend to be forgotten about or people turn a blind eye to. Drug addiction, adolescence, and sexual identity are all issues that the main character, Chiron faced. This film really tugged on my heart strings. There was a lot of heartache, but there were some triumphs.
The film is told in three parts which follow the key points in Chiron’s life.
As a kid, Chiron also called Little is constantly bullied at school and his drug addicted mother, Paula doesn’t help much. Juan, a local drug dealer takes Chiron under his wing. Juan and his girlfriend, Teresa provide Chiron with a sort of safe haven. Chiron struggles to come to terms with his sexual identity all while dealing with his mother’s worsening drug habit as a child. Chiron endured during his childhood. His mother was not always around and whenever she was coming down from her high she would be aggressive towards him. He learns early on what the slur “faggot” meant and that Juan is a drug dealer who fed his mother’s crack addiction. However, Chiron still continued to hang out with Juan and Teresa as they sort of acted as his surrogate parents. Throughout his hardships, he managed to have one friend, Kevin. Kevin always seemed to randomly pop up whenever Chiron was down or going through it.
Chiron is now a teenager still struggling with his identity.He’s still dealing with bullying only that is different is that now he’s in high school. In class, he deals with constant verbal and physical abuse from a bully, Terrell. After school, he would typically avoid Terrell and his crew and go to Juan and Teresa’s. In the film, it is clear that Juan died, but not much is said about what happened. One day after coming home and having his mother take all of the money Teresa gave him he sleeps at the train station, but unable to sleep comfortably he wanders to the beach. At the beach he bumps in Kevin, his childhood friend. They sit, talk and smoke some weed. At some point their conversation, the mood changes. Chiron and Kevin shared a deeply intimate moment that stuck with Chiron for the rest of his life. Despite their intimate moment, Kevin gave into peer pressure just a few days later at the hands of Chiron’s bully, Terrell. this time the bullying was apart of a hazing ritual. The hazing ritual resulted in Chiron being brutally beaten in front of his peers. Chiron felt there was no point in reporting to the authorities he broke down in his principal’s office and just kept saying you don’t even know. He felt and knew that pressing charges wouldn’t make a difference so the next day he took matters into his own hands. He returned to school the following day and beat Terrell over the back with a chair. Consequently, Chiron was arrested and sent to juvie in ATL.
Years later, Chiron is now an adult. He became a drug dealer after someone from juvie put him on to it. Everything in his life was pretty slowed down and consistent. There were no traces of the insecure Chiron from Liberty City up until he gets a surprising phone call in the middle of the night. He picks up the phone thinking it is his mother calling him from rehab, but it is actually Kevin. The call has Chiron lost for words, but Kevin managed to keep the conversation going. The phone call ended with Kevin telling him that since he works at a restaurant whenever Chiron decides to visit Miami he’ll cook for him. Shortly after that conversation Chiron visits his mother at the rehab facility she lives at. They have a heart wrenching conversation about her lack of love and care for him as a child and how regretful she is. The next day, Chiron drives from Atlanta to Miami to see Kevin. They sit and chat for awhile with mostly Kevin talking because Chiron seems apprehensive and unsure of Kevin. Kevin closes the restaurant and Chiron gives him a ride home. Back at Kevin’s place they seem to beat around the bush, but Chiron finally opens up. He says that Kevin is the only man he’s been intimate with and that he has never been with anyone else since. The film comes to a close with them embracing one another and talking.
Review: there’s so much about this movie that I love. I love the all black cast. I loved how passionate the characters were. An LGBT movie was needed for the black community. I love and feel like there are so many parts of this movie that resonates with a lot of people. The young men who played Chiron as a child and teen did a great job. They had a big responsibility of understanding difficult issues and portraying them for the world to see and grasp. It was also interesting how Chiron never came out and explored after the moment he had with Kevin. In one of the last few scenes, he tells Kevin when he left Miami he built himself from the ground up and wanted to forget the things of his past. However, he never pretended to be straight or have any relationships with other men. It seemed as though that trip to Miami made him bring all of things he tried to put in the back of his mind back at the forefront for him to come to terms with. The writers and production team did a good job depicting a situation where there is beauty in the struggle.