Moonlight is a film that reaches the audience in a way no other production piece has done before — it realistically depicts how difficult it is to be black, gay, and poor as the main character struggles through drug abuse, bullying, and street violence.
Set in Miami, the film follows Chiron, a young black boy who does not fit in. His friends and family coined him with the humiliating nickname Little. He walks into school everyday, avoiding homophobic remarks in the schoolyard, just to come back home to his mother who develops an addiction to snorting “crack” cocaine.
This film shows a different perspective of Miami, usually hidden beneath beach towels and sunglasses, that other people are too afraid to show.
Moonlight also highlights the drug trade problem that takes place in Miami. A character named Juan controls the drug scene. When Chiron finds Juan’s house, which he share with his girlfriend, he finds a safe haven that provides warm meals, clean sheets, and care.
However, making the horrifying realization that Juan supplies his mother’s addiction breaks all faith he had, especially since he looked up to Juan as a father figure.
But not the entire film is full of heartbreak and pity.
The first section in the film follows Little as he encounters his first obstacle of learning how to swim. This scene embodies spiritual transformation as Little lays his trust in an older African-American moments after reconnecting.
“‘Moonlight’ is both a disarmingly, at times almost unbearably personal film and an urgent social document, a hard look at American reality and a poem written in light, music and vivid human faces,” said the New York Times.
While the film may not be praised for racial diversity — due to lack of white characters — it can definitely be praised in the message that it sends the audience and the beauty in which it portrays.
From beginning to end, the rich colors and beautiful technicalities of each scene showcase the harsh realities of living in South Florida — from drug addictions, to bullying, to racial discrimination. The one nobody sees on a website or a brochure.