As a young child, Little was growing up in a broken home. Without a father and with a drug-addicted mother, he was quiet and mostly kept to himself. When discovered by the local drug dealer, Juan, he finally had someone willing to invest some emotion and energy in his happiness. As a teenager and now going by his name (Chiron), he started to explore his feelings and found himself attracted to a close friend. When left to fend for himself again, he self-destructed and found himself spiraling into a life similar to his childhood. As an adult, Black had become the drug dealer just like Juan but struggled with a sense of missing something more.
Exploring Identity: As a young child, Little ended up in a conversation with Juan and Teresa about being queer and wanting to understand if that made him a bad person. The shyness seemed to be partially related to not knowing how to connect with others. Luckily for him, he did have a budding relationship Kevin. Their friendship took an exciting and confusing new turn as teenagers, but social image put a rift between them. He avoided revisiting his queerness until he became an adult and found himself attempting to reconnect with Kevin.
Complicated Lives: Besides exploring Chiron’s complicated identity, the film also showed a different side of a drug dealer. Juan may have been the one supplying drugs to the community, including Chiron’s mother, but he also took a loving interest in a young boy who needed some support. Teresa seemed comfortable with Juan’s career, but she also took an interest in supporting Chiron. Also, Paula was clearly messed up from the drugs, but she never stopped wanting better for her son.
High School Drama: The process of coming out is different for everyone, but high school presents a whole added set of challenges. Chiron and Kevin shared a romantic evening together but could not display their affection in public. When the school bullies coerced Kevin to fight Chiron, he failed to stand by his friend and forced Chiron into a tough position. It was not until they were adults that they chose to explore their relationship again and connect with their true feelings for each other.
Final Verdict: Moonlight is a raw, emotional drama that explores so many different issues through the life of a single man. As a child, he was confronted with starting to explore his sexuality while also struggling with a drug-addicted mother. As a teenager, he finally acts on his feelings, only to be shattered by the harshness of the world around him. As an adult, he struggles to find meaning in a world where he was repeating the same mistakes he experienced as a child. This is a must see from 2016.
Dan’s Rating: 4.5/5