Moonlight really got the nation talking this year, and not just because of the controversy surrounding the Golden Globe Awards! Moonlight tackles various difficult areas of personal development head-first, through it’s incredibly emotional narrative.
Directed by Barry Jenkins, this film received many credible awards, including the Independent Spirit Award for the Best Director. Best Motion Picture was handed over at The Golden Globe Awards, and the Academy Award for Best Writing Adapted Screenplay was given to Moonlight.
This film is particularly influential to a lot of people because it presents the struggle of coming to terms with your individual identity in a society that doesn’t accept it. Moonlight tackles issues such as homophobia, drug abuse and bullying, pulling on the heart strings of the audience and questioning the impact of society on the individual.
The film was divided into three sections: Little, Chiron and Black. These names become representative of the character’s development. A particularly interesting part of the film was the scene where Chiron starts dancing and his talent shines through. This rare expression of the character’s true happiness provides an interesting indication of what could have been if this was encouraged. However, the majority of the film is focused on his personal struggle with accepting himself and finding his place in society. Lighting was used to guide these ideas, Chiron was in darkness for a large section of the film. However, the touching resolution showed him lit up, both literally and metaphorically.
The characters in Moonlight were all very complex and tended to deviate away from stereotypical gender roles and stock characters. For example, Chiron’s mother, played by Naomi Harris (who received the Satellite Award for the Best Supporting Actress), was addicted to drugs. She neglected her son as he grew up, but during the resolution, expressed her sentiment for him. Juan, the only supportive figure in the film, also seemed to have a mysterious connection with drugs. The complexity of the characters made the film incredibly realistic and believable.
Moonlight was shocking in the sense that the protagonist had to endure so much emotional hardship on his own. The way in which he exclaimed “you don’t understand” after a particularly harmful experience was incredibly emotional. It’s fair to say that Chiron is the embodiment of an individual who seems fine, but suffers in silence to a terrible degree.
Moonlight was incredibly powerful and unpredictable. No doubt it had a significant impact on many people, and if you are yet to watch it, I would certainly encourage that you do!
Moonlight is in cinemas now.