No matter how many Moonlight articles you’ve read today, there’s always time for one more
Moonlight won best picture and most of the black community couldn’t be happier (you know why I said most).
In the film we weren’t slaves or maids and it wasn’t about our oppression- all of which are real and stories that should be told — but they are not the only story that should be told. Instead, Moonlight gave us a narrative displaying the complexity of black masculinity, discovering your sexuality and dealing with all of life’s twists and turns. The film itself is aesthetically beautiful and the score, though it did not take home the Oscar, is not one to be ignored.
The film is inspired by the play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” by Tarrell McCraney, Barry Jenkins and Tarrell created a film that seems to perfectly balance art and storytelling. Moonlight follows the evolution of Chiron from child to teen to adult, and is uniquely portrayed by three equally amazing actors throughout each stage of the character’s life. Chiron faces constant bullying and a drug-addicted mother, played brilliantly by Naomie Harris who shot all her scenes in a three day period, all while discovering his sexuality and what the perceived definition of manhood is. The audience is sucked into Chiron’s quiet world and journeys with him to a ending that is too much like real life.
Take a moment to recall the labels this film wears that makes it an unlikely and “untraditional” pick for its success and Best Picture win. Moonlight is unapologetically an LGBTQ story, focusing on the main character Chiron’s personal grappling of his sexuality. It stars an entire black and brown cast and the original screenplay was penned by a black man who identifies as homosexual.
I do not desire to strip the labels from the film, claiming it transcended race and sexuality. Instead the film fully embraces both which makes it narrative rich, complex and beautiful to watch. I cannot myself delve into the complexities of manhood and discovering sexuality, as a person who identifies both as straight and a cisgender woman my duty is to purely absorb the story, not provide critique or unnecessary comment on a world I am not a part of (some people should take note of this when it comes to other topics).
Moonlight gives hope that the future of film can and will be diverse. And not just diverse but that the work will be acknowledged and given its due recognition. There are narratives yet to be told and voices that need to be heard. I look forward to seeing more from the creators and the cast. If you haven’t yet, check out NPR’s Code Switch podcast interview with Barry Jenkins and definitely see the film.
Just kidding. But seriously, "Moonlight," Jenkins' new film, is the movie of the moment. Gene talks with him about what…one.npr.org
If you have seen Moonlight what did you think of the film? Share your thoughts below.