Movie Review: Moonlight

Susan Aracena , Arts and Entertainment Editor

The film “Moonlight” is just a small glance into the shadows of America’s war on drugs.

The movie, which is an adaptation of the play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” by Alvin McCraney, eloquently captures street life and character development until the last scene. The film chronicles the life of Chiron, experiencing his daily life through James Laxton’s brilliant cinematography.

The movie begins with the song “Every [Expletive] is a Star” by Borris Gardiner, introducing the film’s realistic drama of black/minority culture. Chiron acts as an analogy for people who live in environments where they’re a star for surviving.

Chiron’s life is illustrated in three stages—Little, Chiron, and Black—, each stage being what he identifies with.

The first stage opens with Chiron being chased by kids shouting homosexual slurs. He eventually hides inside an empty crackhouse where he meets Juan. Juan is the town’s drug dealer who acts as Chiron’s father figure.

Juan notices that Chiron needed guidance as he is somewhat giving Chiron a safe haven from his drug-addict mother. Chiron is forced to isolate himself because he’s constantly being bullied.

The second section places Chiron in high school, where he was still being bullied being called Little and other homosexual slurs. Being a lonely teenager confuses him and having a drug-addicted mother embarrasses him.

His emotions were bottled up, with little emotional support. But Juan’s girlfriend, Teresa, became another mother for him when his mother’s addiction grew worse and he had no one to lean on.

The sexual tension between Chiron and his friend Kevin was an intriguing situation and evoked emotion for the audience. It allowed Chiron to come to grips with his sexuality. This tension led to action where we saw him feel comfortable.

Chiron’s character was put to the test, however. The next day, bullies forced him to fight Kevin; it ended with Kevin yelling at Chiron to stay down, but he refused, which was an analogy of finding a small part of himself through the fight and being hurt by the person he cares for.

Chiron physically hit the main bully with a chair the next day in school, which ultimately puts him in juvenile detention.

The final section brought us to Chiron as a man; while he’s bulked up physically he is trying to hide his inner emotion and becomes a drug dealer with the name Black. He moved to Georgia after he got out of juvenile detention because his mother is now sober.

The characters’ relationships are heightened at this point.

Kevin calls Chiron and immediately starts to dream about his platonic lover. Chiron visits his mother where she explained that the drugs harmed her relationship with him, but she still loved him. He returns the sentiment, but he needed to see another person he loved—Kevin.

The movie’s plot of how a young man is trying to find himself and figure out his sexuality is interesting enough and delivers a message that says that love can be found in the most unideal places.

Chiron might not have known himself, but he sure as hell knew that he loved Kevin.

The movie ends with Black shutting down into Kevin’s arms not knowing anything but feeling comfortable with Kevin once again like he was long ago.