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Do You Know Who You Are?

At some point you gotta decide who you gonna be. Can’t let nobody do that for you.- Juan

Moonlight depicts the journey of a boy becoming a man. Of a black boy becoming a black man. Of a gay black boy becoming a gay black man. Of a lost gay black boy becoming a found gay black man. Yes. Now that's better.

How does a boy become a man? Is it through the accumulation of passed memories, life experiences and disappointments? All combined to perfect some sort of algorithm used for the purpose of making decisions as a man? Is a boy a man when he's able to recall pain and rejection without the toll of remembering the emotions that accompanied them? Is he a man when he makes love for the first time? Is he allowed to be a man if he's gay? Is he seen as a man if he's black? If he's both?

Chiron is a dark-skinned, scrawny, painstakingly shy little boy. You'd be lucky to get 3 words out of him at once. Then again, if you were always getting beat up for being different you'd probably be too afraid to speak too. But what Chiron lacks in verbal communication he more than makes up for in body language. His eyes are dark and serious. Always serious. He looks and observes everything and everyone with a purpose. Not wanting to miss any detail. His gait is small and hurried – desperately wanting to not be noticed. And his smile --- well, he never does. 

Ignored and abandoned by a drug-addicted mother, Chiron learns first hand the seduction between a drug and it’s captive. His mother has opted for the physical and mental release that only crack cocaine can bring. Ironically, the same drug lord, Juan, that aids in this dark shadow between a mother and her child, is the only one willing to give Chiron the love, attention and understanding that a child requires from an adult.

“What’s a faggot?” – Chiron
Juan’s response: “It’s a word used to make gay people feel bad.” 

His answer wasn’t “it’s a word to describe gay people” -- because it isn’t. Just like ‘nigger’ isn’t a word to describe black people. They are words created to describe hate. Hatred for gay people. Hatred for black people. Hatred for people. Juan knew who he was. So much so that he was able and willing to love a little, gay, black boy when no one else would. When no one else knew how. 

Transitioning from childhood to a teenager left Chiron running from bullies and running from himself. That is until one life-changing evening with Kevin. Kevin is bold, confident and fearless. Or at least he’s able to convince us of that. While boasting of his ‘sexcapades’ with female peers and introducing Chiron to the almighty marijuana, Kevin assumes the position of an individual who knows exactly who they are. That is of course until Kevin is faced with a challenge at school whose outcome weighs heavily on Chiron’s fate.

Through the relationships with his mother; her drug dealer, Juan; and his friend, Kevin, Chiron must learn who he is. Is he what everyone sees him as – different? Is he what he feels – afraid? Or is he exactly what he has yet to express – love? 


CAST

Director & Screenwriter ……. Barry Jenkins
Chiron (i. Little) ………………………..  Alex Hibbert
Chiron (ii. Chiron) ……………………..Ashton Sanders
Chiron (iii. Black) ………………………..Trevante Rhodes
Juan ……………………….  Mahershala Ali
Paula …………………. Naomi Harris
Kevin (i. Little) ………………… Jaden Piner
Kevin (ii. Chiron) ………………. Jharrel Jerome
Kevin (iii. Black) ………………….. Andre Holland
Teresa …………………. Janelle Monae

By: DJ

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