The 2016 Best Picture winner is one that explores the life of a boy in different chapters. It explores his childhood, his adolescence, and his adult life. During these transitional periods, he struggles with his identity and sexuality. We shine a spotlight on "Moonlight," our recommended movie to kick off Pride Month.
In 2003, American playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney wrote a play called "In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue." It was a semi-autobiographical play that he wrote to help get through the devastating loss of his mother's death due to AIDS. Unfortunately, the play ended up sitting on a shelf. Thankfully, it was repurposed and became the foundation of "Moonlight."
The film serves as a sometimes harrowing, yet always honest and human tale. It's also something people who've dealt with similar situations can relate to. It shows the hurt and torment that some experience when trying to claim their authentic identity. Unfortunately in our world, certain people always find something or someone to judge.
Here's a preview of what you can expect from this emotional coming-of-age drama film.
The story begins with a reclusive child nicknamed "Little." We first see him hiding in a crack house after a group of bullies tries to chase him down. An Afro-Cuban drug dealer named Juan (Mahershala Ali) offers the boy a place to stay for the night. He then takes him back to his mother Paula (Naomie Harris).
Little grows older and loses his nickname. People start to call him by his actual name Chiron. This new chapter in his life brings new problems to navigate and more pressure to fit into society's stereotypes. Life continues to weigh heavily on him. And it leads to his last chapter in the movie, which turns out to be much different than many will expect.
Pride Month Significance
When we think of critically acclaimed films that can enlighten, educate and further real empathy, this is a great film that comes to mind. It is a movie that allows the LGBTQ community to be seen, and demands that their experiences be respected. It is also the first LGBTQ film with an all-black cast to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Simply put, "Moonlight" is a perfect movie to celebrate Pride Month.
Why You Should See It
Mahershala Ali earned his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Juan, a father figure to young Little. And the performances from Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes that show Chiron throughout the various stages of his life are something to behold. Director Barry Jenkins had a strong vision for how this powerful story should be told. And he was able to accomplish it on a budget of $1.5 million.
Did You Know
As seamless as it might seem, you'll be surprised to learn that the three actors who play Chiron never actually met during the production of the film. Jenkins did this purposely so that each actor could create their own persona for Chiron. This is also true for the actors who played Chiron's childhood friend Kevin.
Another fun fact: the final restaurant scene we see during the movie was filmed at Jimmy's Eastside Diner in Miami off of Biscayne Boulevard. Next time you're in Miami, be sure to visit the diner yourself.
November 18, 2016
Jesse is a writer and content manager for Noovie. When he's not working, he's on the beach playing volleyball.