Moonlight: A Movie About People Who Don’t Live in La La Land

New Reasons to Love Moonlight

By: Beren Sabuncu

It’s hard to believe that there is any mainstream positivity for LGBTQ individuals nowadays. Trans individuals are now unprotected by the Trump Administration. Vice President Mike Pence, Trump’s right hand man, called being gay a choice and said keeping gays from marrying should not be construed as discrimination, but an enforcement of “God’s idea.”

It’s more than easy for any member of the LGBTQ family to internalize the values that are sadly ever so dominant. It’s easy to feel like something is askew, wrong within. The Oscar winning 2016 American drama film directed by Barry Jenkins, Moonlight, is about internalized oppression of the LGBTQ individual.

Moonlight defies any labels, it is also a look at the effects of socioeconomic position on one’s psyche, and also a personal tale of love and finding it in the nuances of body language. It is a movie about love and loss. It is a movie about self discovery and preservation even in the toughest of situations. It is about rebellion, and acceptance: “It is what it is,” says Black, the main character. 

This article won’t be a political one, rather, it will be one about love. It will be one about “forbidden” love and it will be about the moonlight illuminating the darkest of nights.

“Moonlight” is based on the play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” by Tarell Alvin McCraney, who actually co-wrote the script alongside Barry Jenkins. The film has a cast full of talented actors such as Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Janelle Monáe, Ashton Sanders, Naomie Harris, and Mahershala Ali. Ali won an Oscar for his performance as ”Juan” in “Moonlight.”

That definitely wasn’t the only Oscar “Moonlight” won. The film received an impressive eight Oscar nominations at the 89th Academy Awards, and won three: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Ali) and Best Adapted Screenplay. The Oscars were not the only award ceremony “Moonlight” dominated, the film won Best Motion Picture (Drama) in the 74th Golden Globe Awards, and was nominated in five other categories.

Rightfully so, because it was a movie so well done.

Every little detail is perfectly arranged. The movie poster in itself is a work of art. The movie poster is of Chiron, the main character, and is a collage from his three different major stages of life. The first picture is that of Alex Hibbert who plays Chiron as a child, the second is Ashton Sanders as he depicts Chiron as a teenager, and the third is Trevante Rhodes.

For those three stages, three colors are chosen; blue, purple and black. Blue is chosen for Chiron as child because of the name of the play it was inspired by, “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.” Purple was chosen for him as a teenager, as during these years he discovers his sexuality. Black is chosen for the latter stage, as his nickname is so and his outlook on life is a dark one.

Moonlight also aims to shed some light on how socio-economic position can hinder one’s ability to fully discover themselves, Jenkins actually mentioned this in his acceptance speech. Due to a mix-up a la Steve Harvey, “La La Land” was announced winner of the Best Picture Oscar.

Due to the mix-up Jenkins couldn’t give the full acceptance speech, but then released it. In his speech, he talks about how and why Moonlight is so personal for him: “Tarell [Alvin McCraney] and I are Chiron. We are that boy. And when you watch Moonlight, you don’t assume a boy who grew up how and where we did would grow up and make a piece of art that wins an Academy Award. I’ve said that a lot, and what I’ve had to admit is that I placed those limitations on myself, I denied myself that dream. Not you, not anyone else — me.”

It is certainly a good movie to watch if you enjoy good acting, and a great storyline. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t?

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