In moonlight, black boys look blue. The moon and being blue, surreal and vibrant. I watched the movie with trepidation, I thought like most movies dealing with homosexuality, the end would be tragic. But it’s actually beautiful. Breath-taking almost.
My favoured colour tones permeate the tone of the movie. Blue, white and black. The movie divides into three.
i. Little – the hounding of a boy thought to be different. The lack of a father figure, and soon, the lack of maternal love. The bullying of other children, because children are instinctual, they sense differences, but most are also doubly cruel because they can. No love forthcoming from the mother who also cannot face with the conclusion she has drawn about her son’s sexuality. She plunges into drugs – and the only consolation Little derives is from, ironically, a drug dealer and his partner.
ii. Chiron – teen years, filled with angst, because the bullying has only got worse. In a world filled with hypermasculinity, Chiron has no recourse but to hide away. The one who should be protecting him, has thrown him into the wild, bereft and alone. The night he spends haunting the metro and the beach because he cannot return home is so tragic that it makes your heart crumple inward. The only hope he receives is from his childhood friend, Kevin. That hope is short-lived and ends in disaster.
iii. Black – a grown man now, embodying that same masculinity that he used to run away from. The sensitivity of Little and Chiron finds its way in nuances of Black. The character has evolved and yet the silver on the teeth is just a façade.
The movie touches each theme so delicately, it’s almost as though it was moonlight itself. Silvery and effervescent. The starkness of reality hits you with such force like the sun shooting directly into your eyes, before the dark envelopes you again. The night provides a respite, whenever we see the character go through the experiences that make him better, we see them happen at night. It is only under moonlight that we see the beauty.
Ashton Sanders is spectacular, as is Naomie Harris. James Laxton has done a wonderful job with cinematography, you feel the emotions through the camera almost as much through the actors.
The world is of a black boy, a black teenager and a black man – but the themes of drug abuse, neglect, imprisonment, poverty, abandonment and bullying are so prevalent that the movie can speak to its audience on any level. The cinematography is brilliant, the dept of fields used create a singular focus on the character presented – the world is myopic and seen through each individual lens. It brings down the larger vision to the inevitability of fate. But pathos is presented in such a fantastic aura of dappled light that makes you understand how poetry is created. Even the ice water used as a cold transition cannot truly wash away the goodness within Chiron. And that is what makes you root for him.