Best Picture: Moonlight


*Warning! Spoilers ahead!*

Academy Award winning film and Best Picture of 2016, Moonlight, is based off the play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.” The film follows Chiron, a small black boy, through three periods of his life.

Young Chiron

He is scared, timid and, most notably, small in size. The neighborhood kids even call him “Little.” Along with his nickname, the kids of Miami taunt him with slurs. These are words that he doesn’t even understand, other than the fact that they are an attack on him. His home life is not any different than his life at school. Chiron’s mother is more concerned with drugs than taking care of her own son. She even joins the taunting of Chiron.

The only beam of light in his life is Juan, and ironically, he is the neighborhood drug dealer. Juan has his own struggles with drugs but is a father figure to Chiron and lets him know that every slur thrown his way has no meaning to him.  Juan and his caring girlfriend, Teresa, open up their home to Chiron.

Teenage Chiron

Chiron as a teenager is quiet, alone and afraid. He doesn’t have many friends at school, except for his childhood buddy, Kevin. Kevin is with Chiron for every step of his high school career. The day he escapes verbal bullying in class and is promised a beating after school  from the class bullies, he meets up with Kevin. Kevin himself messes around with danger, but is still friends with Chiron. That day, Kevin tells him in detail about the girl he loves, and this sticks with Chiron, even in his dreams. He can’t seem to get Kevin off his mind.

Kevin offers Chiron a night out on the beach, the same beach where Juan showed him how to swim. It’s on this beach where Chiron’s environment comes to life. He smokes for the first time, and he kisses Kevin for the first time. Bullying at school is eventually too much for Chiron. Kevin follows suit with the other bullies and decides to punch Chiron right in the mouth multiple times. Chiron’s teen years come to a close in Moonlight when we see him attempt revenge; he smashes a chair over his bullies head, and is escorted out of school in a police car.

Adult Chiron

By the third phase of this movie, Chiron has spun into an entirely new person. He seems to reject his sexuality, and engage in the selling and usage of illegal drugs. He wears expensive clothing, drives a fast car, and is man made; except he’s not who he’s always been. After years of abuse, he revisits his mother in Georgia in a very emotional scene. He also revisits Teresa, Juan’s girlfriend. We never find out if Juan is actually dead, but we don’t see him past Chiron’s childhood. Chiron finally decides to drive up from Miami to Georgia and visit one final person, Kevin.

Kevin is now a head chef at his own restaurant, married, with children of his own. He struggles to make end’s meet and doesn’t have a ride to work. He invites Chiron to have a few drinks with him as they catch up. Perhaps the strongest scene in the entire movie is the very last one. We see them both at Kevin’s apartment, with their future’s up for the audience to decide.

Moonlight is available on DVD and all Digital Platforms now.