By Luciana Leitão
It is a very simple plot, a very simple story, a very simple idea, told in a deep way. Moonlight, by Barry Jenkins, follows a black man living in a rough neighbourhood in Miami, since he is a young boy until he is an adult. It is a story of self-discovery, as the man tries to understand who he is amid a disturbing reality. The best story and the strongest contender to the Oscars.
Let’s look at the story. It is divided into three stages: young adolescence, mid-teen and young adult. Chiron (the main character) lives with his crack-addict mother, and is constantly bullied by the youngsters living in his neighbourhood. He is shy, with low self-esteem and struggles to find some love in the world. His path seems doomed since the beginning.
Chiron is a loner, mostly due to his lack of confidence and neglect by his own mother. As he grows older, his only friend, Kevin, continues to be his sole guidance, leading him to question his own sexuality.
Moonlight is a beautiful film, that actually tells many stories: of a young black man in the US, of a young man raised by a drug-addict, of a young man growing up in a rough neighbourhood, of a young man awakening to his sexuality. Most of all, this film is about the search for identity and how it takes time to find it.
Barry Jenkins tells the story in a non-conventional way, offering a poetic and contemplative view. It is told through the eyes of a reserved child, teen and adult, who, until the very end of the film, keeps searching for his identity.
The performances are raw and clean. It breaks stereotypes — the drug dealers in the film are not the typical senseless and violent individuals, they are seen in all their humanity.
Moonlight is the film of the year. It breaks boundaries, it tells a beautiful story, it tells a real story. It communicates with all of us.