Review: Moonlight

Moonlight Rewind Review!

This is my second review of Moonlight, and usually I would just leave the first review alone and reattribute those thoughts to my most recent viewing, but I had such a different and incredible experience this time that I feel the need to re-review it as the masterpiece it is!

Moonlight is a 2016 anthology film directed by Barry Jenkins, based off of the unproduced play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue written by Tarell Alvin McCraney. This film is about a young black boy named Chiron, a sad and lonely boy just trying to have a normal life but having problems with kids who don’t include him, and an absent mother who abuses drugs. Because of these things, he feels insecure about his life until he meets a man named Juan who becomes something like a father to him. Juan and Theresa offer Chiron a place to stay where there is no judgment and only love and pride in their home. Juan takes Chiron out to the ocean and lets him float on the water, which in a way is a baptizing into a world that loves and respects him for who he is. Juan later tells Chiron a story about when he was growing up, that an old lady used to call him “Blue” because Moonlight makes black boys look blue. Juan explains that he doesn’t like to be called “Blue” because he doesn’t let anybody decide for him who he’s going to be (the theme of the film).

Because of how much Juan and Theresa care for him, Chiron feels as though he finally has a family and is able to feel comfortable enough with who he is to ask Juan and Theresa one question that plagues his every day. This question is about homosexuality, and what that means for his life; whether or not Chiron is gay. Juan and Theresa respond that he doesn’t have to know whether he is or not because the time will come. This is the last scene of this act, and then we meet up with Chiron again when he is in high school, a much darker time for him. This is the time in his life when he fully realizes that it’s okay to be gay, at the same time he understands that people most likely won’t respect him for it, unfortunately. That being said, the lesson that Juan tells him about not letting anybody decide who he is going to be is not taken to heart, and Chiron becomes somebody that he does not want to be. He becomes like Juan, which is not a bad thing as Juan was a great influential paternal figure to Chiron, but it’s not who he was meant to be. Kevin mentions this in the third act and tries to help Chiron become who he was actually meant to be instead of who he has become.

We have a character who has grown up in a world that makes him feel unloved and worthless. The ONLY male person in his entire life that has shown unconditional respect or love for him is Juan. Throughout the entire film, only one person ever knew that Chiron was gay, and that was Kevin; they shared a scene in which they kiss on the beach, and from there, realize that they like each other more than they originally thought, and Chiron realizes that being gay is acceptable. However, Kevin is asked to beat Chiron later and does so without question, which is a moment that shapes him for the rest of his life. Chiron grew up in a world that didn’t like or didn’t want him simply for who he was. We don’t get that much information about Chiron’s personality because he doesn’t share anything about himself, largely because he spends most of the movie fighting himself- he doesn’t know who he is and that’s the person the world has shaped him to be. When he finally showed vulnerability to his friend, he got beat up a day later, and then he tried to take a stand and be a

When he finally showed vulnerability to his friend, he got beat up a day later, and then he tried to take a stand and be a man and then got thrown in jail because of it. In jail, he met a person who offered help, and then made money selling drugs on the streets afterward- exactly what the only father figure (or caring man) in his life did. And then, he begins lifting and working out because he has to be “hard” to make it in the real world, to appear “straight,” he feels, which is something he didn’t feel he could do before. If his friend won’t stand up for him, he has to stand up for himself- which is why he would and could not let anybody close to him. In summation, that is Chiron’s character and it makes sense why he says very little… but that doesn’t make him a small character at all. Seeing the relationship between Kevin and Chiron develop and mature was quite heartwarming and heartbreaking as they start out as innocent friends, grow during puberty and push the limits of their friendship, and then come back together years later after they’ve matured emotionally and spiritually. Seeing them reunite is a great moment in the film and makes all of their past culminate in one single meeting; they both regret what happened but are willing to move forward together into the future. It was really a beautiful story all in all.

Overall, Moonlight is a masterpiece of a movie and is easily one of the best films of the year. Even though I like La La Land more, I’m happy that Moonlight won best picture as it deserved the recognition for the powerful and impactful story. Seeing Chiron grow up in this anthology which allowed us to revisit him during the most imporant parts of his life made every moment of this film matter, and how it all ends with Kevin and him drove home the entire theme of the film: the he is the only person who can decide who he is going to be, and that he cannot and should not let anybody else decide that for him. I’m going to give Moonlight in this Rewind Review a glowing 9+/10 and a golden recommendation! Definitely pleased that I had a much better experience with the film this time and excited to watch it a third time in the near future? Have you seen this film? What did you think about it? As always, thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon!

Published by Blake Carson Schwarz

Indiana University graduate in Media and Creative Writing. I love to write my own stories as well as experience the work of others. On this site, I post reviews, essays, and other fun posts that I hope you have as much fun reading and I have writing. Please share any comments you have, I'd be happy to hear what you think! *Never a critic, always a fan*

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