Moonlight (2016) Directed by Barry Jenkins Review


Got around to watch Moonlight, it was truly a work of art, this film tackled so many different issues and I truly felt its brilliance. I’m really glad I got a chance to watch it, it was so much more than anything I could have expected. The film focuses on the life of a young adolescent Chiron nicknamed as Little by the antagonists, who struggles with life dealing with bullies who pick on him calling him negative homophobic terms. As well as dealing with a drug addict controlling mother who treats him quite horribly, but two people who help this young adolescent in need is Juan (a drug seller) and Teresa who’s his significant other and is a very caring woman who takes care of Chiron. Juan becomes almost like a father figure for him, teaching Chiron how to swim, treating him as an equal and even trusts Chiron enough that he tell him about his own life. Chiron’s attitude Juan changes when he asks him about what a specific homophobic terms mean in reference to what the other kids say about him and how his mother is on drugs and finds out Juan sells them.

The progression of Chiron’s character development is quite natural and doesn’t feel awkward at all and feels it’s still him. We fast forward a few years, where it seems like he is in some high school, where the bullying still exists. One friend that’s present through most of the film is Kevin, a guy who isn’t bullied like Chiron is but who stays around him and who Chiron cares for. Fast forward a few years to high school, they maintain the good relationship and at one point, Chiron lets Kevin touch him and be the first guy to do so. Although the friendship does not remain so peaceful when Kevin is asked by another student who enjoys torturing Chiron, to beat up Chiron. Rather than refusing, he gives into the peer pressure and beats Chiron in front of everyone. Chiron heads home after being badly wounded, and where his drug addict mother gives him the idea to get back at the person who bullied him. The scene cuts to him coming into school, with a serious look on his face and a change of demenour. He then starts fighting the bully in class leading the police to be called to take him away.

I do love how in the film it tackles many different issues such as homiphobia, peer pressure, drugs and so on. While in the police car, Chiron and Kevin look at each other, which I feel was a very powerful moment as it connotates that their lives would never agin be the same after that. We fast forward a few more years, where Chiron is now a fully grown adult, muscular and appears to be selling drugs like Juan was at the beginning. The way he dresses also is reminist of how Juan was as well. He is also living a better life in what looks like an expensive appartment, and gets several calls from him mother asking him to visit. You then see a scene with Chiron grown up and his mother, who seems to regret what she did and admits how much she messed up and how she can’t forgive herself. Chiron listening and at one point he decides he want to leave but is asked by his mother to give her a second chance.

The scene then goes back to him being in his apartment and getting a call from Kevin, who appears to be someone who he hasn’t talked to in years. Kevin asks him if he ever were to come to the place he’s living in, to give a call. We can see how much Chiron cared for him, contimplating what to do, he then decides to go see his old friend Kevin who appears to be working as a restaurant as a cook. The two reunite and talk about their old times together and their current life. We then learn that Chiron lives in Atlanta, Georgia and worked from the bottom to reach the top, hence the reason why he can oford a fancy car and place. But we also find out how he is stuck mentally, but its not just him only, Kevin who seems happy may not be as we see him making food in a run down kitchen and how he is putting his all into preparing the best food he can for Chiron.

As Chiron is about to eat he takes off his fake gold teeth, which looks like how Juan had, which may connotate how much he resepcted Juan as a role model. It appears to be nothing more than an accesory while Juan had it as he lost his original teeth. We then head to Kevins home, where they talk more about their current lives, how Kevin his pleasantly satisfied with his current life of making enough to have a home, a wife and kid. Chiron and Kevin talk specifically about the past and reminise while Chiron puts his head on Kevin’s shoulder.

Overall, I feel the film was very well done, it explored all the issues quite nicely. The only problem I would have is how there are all black characters for most of the film until restaurant scene, where you see for the first time white characters which does leave some questions, about what role did they play in it all. I feel the way they developed Chiron’s character was well thought out as well as his relationship with Kevin and all the other bullies. I would recommend people go watch it, so good and I would give it 5 stars all around.

I made a video film review about it as well, there may be things I have in this post that I did not mention in the video and vise versa. Do give the video a watch and let me know what you think in the comments of the video.

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