I've done a post on Moonlight before, but since I feel this is a pivotal movie on so many levels, another post is due:
Tonight is the premiere of what I hope will be a multi-successful, much honored movie, Moonlight:
Based on an unproduced, semi-autobiographical play by Tarell Alvin McCraney, “Moonlight” is the story of Chiron, an introvert living in the Miami projects with his crack-addicted mother (Naomie Harris). Kids pick on him because he’s not as butch as the other boys. “What is a faggot?” he asks Juan, a neighborhood drug dealer (Mahershala Ali) who shows compassion for Chiron. Juan and his girlfriend, Teresa (Janelle Monáe), become surrogate parents. Chiron escapes to their orderly home for the food and comfort often denied to him. He struggles to understand his sexuality and his poverty, and he has nowhere else to turn. “My mama does drugs?” he asks Juan, and we melt with sympathy.
“Moonlight” comprises three chapters, each a short film unto itself. In the first, Chiron (Alex R. Hibbert) is a grade-school boy who’s been branded with the nickname Little because he is smaller and daintier than the others. In the second division, Chiron (Ashton Sanders) ages into a teenager, able to fight back but keener to avoid confrontation, including that of his mother, who makes him hand over cash to feed her addiction. It’s in this phase of the film that Chiron realizes his only friend Kevin (Jharrel Jerome) might be gay, too ― what that means exactly, he still isn’t sure. But Kevin won’t defend Chiron outside of their private enclave, and the violent homophobia continues. In the third division, Chiron (Trevante Rhodes) has become a hardened drug dealer himself, pumped-up muscles and fake grills concealing a truth he’s determined to bury. Loneliness radiates off of him.