Movie Review: Moonlight


“Moonlight,” a small film produced from A24, surprised many people when they won the Oscar for Best Picture. Directed by Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight” tells the story of a young black child who discovers his sexuality. The main character, Chiron, grows up with his drug-addicted mother in a neighborhood that aren’t welcoming to gays. The movie is split into 3 different acts or time periods, with 3 different actors playing Chiron in his childhood(Alex R. Hibbert), adolescence (Ashton Sanders), and adulthood (Trevante Rhodes).


“Moonlight” features a wholly African-American cast. They were all very talented, but the actor that most stood out, was Mahershala Ali. He played Juan, who was the father-like figure in Chiron’s childhood. His ability to express various emotions was fantastic. For example, Juan looked genuinely happy and his eyes lit up when talking to little Chiron. In contrast, when Juan confronts Chiron’s mother (Naomie Harris), he looked conflicted and did a great job portraying a calm, but at the same time angry, composure.


The themes of the movie are based off a story Juan tells little Chiron; It is of a Cuban lady describing how black men looked blue under the moonlight. This is a metaphor for how society physically changes and emotionally shapes people. The cinematography does an amazing job in displaying this theme. The video and colors are oversaturated, so blues, greens, and reds pop out vibrantly. Blue light appears when someone’s character is changed. The blue does not only appears in the moonlight, for example, in the water of the Florida beaches, clothes, and the lights in the bathroom. The whole movie is very symbolic. Notable scenes are: when Chiron looks like he is being baptised when he is swimming in the ocean, or how Chiron put on some muscle to physically put on armor to protect himself against the society.
The message was very powerful. The movie is extremely relevant to today, as the LGBTQ+ movement gains ground. LGBTQ+ people now have more rights in the United States, but this is not always the case in other countries. “Moonlight” is a movie that will leave the audience thinking. The future is exciting, because hopefully, this movie will encourage other movie directors to take risks and to explore more interesting genres.