Divided in three chapters, Moonlight portrays the internal and external struggle of an African-American man living in Miami, through different stages. Chiron goes by the name of ‘Little’ when he’s young mainly because of his lanky body and low self-esteem. Conflicted and lost within he finds comfort in Jaun played by Mahershala Ali who is a drug dealer. Chiron is stuck between his addict mother and his bully classmates.
With every step, every moment spent quietly in the bath-tub, every word he chooses not to speak; one can feel the pit in his stomach. All the 3 actors who play this character have picked it up right where the previous one left. He grows up a lost and scared teenager. With no friends except Theresa to talk to, who is disliked by his own mother.
In Chp 3, Chiron or Black, is a drug dealer who’s heart is still back home where he left it last.
What stayed with me post watching this film was the kindness with which Chiron’s sexuality is handled by Director Barry Jenkins and writers Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney. The film gets slow at some points, sometimes too slow but it picks up efficiently.
Dialogue writing works wonders! There are some extremely innocent and hard-hitting scenes, my favourite is the one where Chiron and his friend Kevin have a moment sitting on the beach smoking a J, slowly allowing each other to open up, knowing deep down that being gay is mocked by their neighbourhood but giving in despite of all that.
Chiron builds himself from scratch to fit in. But his heart belongs elsewhere. My heart melted when he so vulnerably confesses to Kevin that he’s never touched another man. His longing, his pain, his journey is so touching and genuine. Not a moment felt disconnected or forced.
Moonlight has been nominated for 8 Oscars and I’m totally hoping that Naomie Harris gets one for her effortless performance.
So here’s a confession (I’m not homophobic) –
Last year was an overdose of LGBT movies with (wonderful) films like Carol, Pride, Danish Girl, Aligarh, Tangerine, Girlhood, Don’t Call Me Son etc, one needed a change. But Moonlight felt so different. Love here is treated like love, barring all societal permissions. It felt unadulterated and it didn’t need any justification or upliftment. It needed only self-approval.
Apart from dealing with one’s sexuality, Moonlight also touches sensitive layers of mental health, brittle self-esteem and depression.
Take out time and watch Moonlight. Savour it. Slowly.