There are few films I feel represent me on the big screen. A queer woman, semi-Latina born in Miami, to a Colombian mother, raised in a very Cuban Miami, but Barry Jenkins new film Moonlight speaks a language for all characters in the film of life.
An adaptation of playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney's "In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue" Moonlight is a mesmerizing film about the struggles of the human experience unfolding in protagonist Chiron's three perspectives: the child, the adolescent, and the adult.
The character played by Louisiana native Trevante Rhodes, follows the young man through his life as he battles with a drug-addicted mother, self-doubt, and the vulnerability of shame and love.
Filmed throughout different neighborhoods of Miami including Liberty City, and the MiMo District the movie feels authentic in its sense of place and time. What impacted me the most of this project was the ability in how it took me out in and out of my reality, while continuously aligning it with relatable lessons in questions of identity, miscommunication with a parent and intimidation among peers.
Painful and beautifully true to the queer experience it reminded me of the self- interrogation sessions when I first discovered my “gayness” and the thirst to find approval and love in people while trying to hide a piece of me that was incredibly transparent like wearing a skin I was desperately trying to shed.
In one of the most heart-punching scenes, a young Chiron asks local drug-dealer and endearing father figure Juan (Mahershala Ali) and his girlfriend Teresa (Janelle Monáe) if he’s a “faggot” and they both reply that “when you know you know” sensitive to his self-convicting question.
As Chiron's journey continues into adulthood he’s transformed from a soft, quiet adolescent to a buff, built dealer however as the film progresses his quiet and sensitive demeanor remains intact although in appearance he’s transformed. This movie is a masterpiece and I recommend seeing it most importantly in support of Miami’s very own director Barry Jenkins, but also as a reminder of tolerance and support of our ourselves and each other.
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