I thought this would have been a tough watch but it was one of those that just went far enough with being graphic, then pulled back. I find I take more – learn more – from the story this way.
It opens with the main character still a shy youngster, being picked on in Junior school, for being black, for being sensitive, for being different – who knows. Other than the bullies, I noticed very little white people in the film, and for a long time, I was wondering where it was based. It could be anywhere, but we know it’s in America.
Chiron came across Juan while hiding out one day after school and they became friends. We pretty much guess straight away that Juan is a dealer and later we learn that Chiron’s mother is an addict. The two are bound to collide.
The film bravely follows Chiron’s progress to a teenager, which is the first time we learn that he is gay and has clearly spent many years questioning himself. The bullying continues until the third actor plays the now robust, adult Chiron. What he becomes and the transformation is what’s most surprising.
A black, gay teenager in an American ghetto? It could have been much more of an assault on our eyes than it was, but instead Moonlight turned out to be a beautiful film full of love and friendship that asked more questions than it answered.
Moonlight is still very much on my mind over a week after viewing it. I’m thrilled I got to see it.