Monday, June 26, 2017

Moonlight

Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris,
Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders

"This is the story of a Lifetime"


Barry Jenkins directs this chronicle of a man's life from his childhood, his teen years up to a young adult.  The first part shows how "Little" as he was nicknamed faces harassment on a daily basis from bullies in his school. Mocked for his small frame and being taunted as gay, he has no solid support system for guidance as his single mother works all the time. A father figure enters his life briefly in the form of a 'compassionate' drug dealer named Juan (Mahershala Ali) who teaches him how to swim, try to still some confidence and uplift his self esteem. 

The second phase focuses on him as a teenager, now called Chiron (his real name) yet still faces the same harassment from his schoolmates. He also develops an odd friendship with Kevin, his classmate. Meanwhile, Chiron's drug addict mother is always high and hardly around to be supportive of whatever dreams the hapless boy has for his future.

A decade later, 26 years old Chiron is known in the streets as "Black". He is a drug dealer and his physique has changed. Buffed and able bodied from working out while he was in prison for some misdemeanor.  Physically, he looks strong and menacing, but deep inside he is still a reticent man with hardly any social life. He has also suppressed his sexuality until he is reunited with Kevin.

Just when it seems that things and life in general will be a lot kinder for Chiron, the film ends with a significant scene of "Little" frolicking in the beach on a moonlit night. But you can't help but smile as there is a glimmer of hope and a chance of a happily ever after for a troubled person who has gone through many struggles.

It was a good move to cast 3 different and unknown actors to portray the 3 different chapters in Chiron's life. Their acting was highly credible, as they imbibe the hardships that Chiron endured throughout his entire life with such a visceral force.  

"Moonlight" is a deeply poignant film that deals with relevant issues like bullying, drug addiction, sexuality and isolation. It is significant as it features the life of a black person but I think it could be applicable to any race and still have such a powerful impact on its audience. It deserves all its best film awards. 

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