The world is filled with homophobia, and “Moonlight” deals with the bullying, shyness, and struggles of that issue. Told from an African-American perspective, the movie leaves you feeling emotional about the main character and the types of people he deals with.
The movie is told in three chapters “Little,” “Chiron,” and “Black,” based on the age of Chiron. Alex Hubert plays Little (his childhood nickname), Ashton Sanders plays the teenager, and Trevante Rhodes plays the adult; all of whom are beyond fantastic. He is gay, shy, and curious about his interests. He has a druggie mother (Naomie Harris), a drug dealing role model (Mahershala Ali), a caring neighbor (Janelle Monae), and a friend Kevin (Jaden Piner, then Jharrel Jerome, and finally Andre Harris), who becomes the only man he’s ever romantically touched.
The first two chapters of the movie feature Chiron being chased, harassed, and beaten by bullies, because of his homosexuality. The scene that made me and the audience at the NYFF clap and cheer is when Chiron storms into his high school and hits a bully with a chair, and then gets arrested. That scene represents the protagonist’s anger with the kind of intensity he has. What a shot that was!
Written by Barry Jenkins (the director) and Tarell McCraney, “Moonlight” is both gripping and well-acted. Hubert, Sanders, and Rhodes all look alike, and they even agreed on that at the Q&A, so they’re not only convincing, but inside they’re filled with pure emotions. That deal also applies for Piner, Jerome, and Harris, all of whom grow up, and leap off the screen. And the best supporting actors, in my opinion, consist of Ali, playing a role model, who is ironically a drug dealer, and Harris, playing a junkie mother, who gets drugs from the same man The casting is sublime.
I was hooked with the characters, the homophobia, the shyness, and how the film reacts to them. “Moonlight” is the kind of movie that reminds us on what goes on in society, whether the issue pertains to African Americans or homosexuals.