An Oscar for best picture, critical acclaim, and an all black cast. An actor I admired from House of Cards in a lead role. Janelle Monae as a supporting character; all things that made this movie a must see for me. I’ve been hearing about Moonlight for a while now. I heard it was powerful. I heard that the actors were strong and that the film contained a message. However I had trouble locating it in my theatre.
It wasn’t playing anywhere in my city. I mean nowhere! I live in The DFW area; the FW portion. The movie was not showing in Fort Worth; not in my town of Keller. There was one theatre in the Pearl Arts District where it was showing. I planned to go with my good friend and therapist. I enjoy the artsy area and the many places to dine. But then the Oscars came on and the movie won the highest honor. Actor Mahershala Ali won best supporting actor, and the writer won best writing in an adapted screenplay. Naomi Harris was nominated for best supporting actress but lost to Viola Davis.
All of the sudden Moonlight is playing all over The Metroplex. It’s playing more shows in the arts district and in my little suburb of Keller. So it was perfect, my mother- in- love and daughter were here visiting and we were excited to see the film. The attendant asked if this was our first time seeing it. I heard online that many theaters were taking a survey. The theatre was scarce, three groups of people for a total of ten viewers.
Without giving the entire movie away in this blog, the plot was about a boy who comes into his own as he struggles with his sexuality. He also has a few home life issues; dysfunctional parents and living in the tough Liberty City area of Miami, FL. He meets a man who takes him under his wing but that man is not without his own flaws and struggles. The movie uses great cinematography and transitions. Ali draws you in and makes you fall in love with Juan. You also want to protect Chiron played by Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes.
This movie left me feeling conflicted. I wanted it to be great. I wanted to feel wonderful and be blown away with Ali’s acting. Ali’s character Juan was only in the movie for 45 minutes. I was expecting so much more from this great cast. This year I have seen excellent films; Hidden Figures and Fences to name a few. The conclusion left me with so many questions.
I lied, spoilers are coming.
Will Chiron live in his own truth and learn to be honest about his sexuality? I feel like at the end of the movie he could have said, “ I am a gay African American man.” Will he continue to live a lie and also have an existence without love? Being gay is accepted now more than ever before, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy for him. He has been bullied most of life because of it. Will Kevin( Andre’ Holland) want to be with him and start a life as a bisexual male raising a son? There are thousands of men who enjoy sex with woman and men. They are sometimes accused of wanting to “ have their cake and eat it too.” Did Barry Jenkins want us to leave the theatre with these questions?
My overall thought on the movie is it was pretty good. I was told and also gathered from the trailers that the meat of the movie would be about the relationship between Chiron and Juan. I was excited to see a father dealing with his son coming out as gay in the hood. That is really not what the movie was about. Juan was not Chiron’s father and the movie was more about Chiron’s life transition. Again I am conflicted, was the movie just okay or just not what I expected? Do I want to love the movie because the entire cast looks like me? Now I’m asking all of the questions.
Although the movie was not what I expected, it was a proud moment seeing an all black cast walk up on that stage and receive the award. There were three wonderful African American stories told this Oscar season. Moonlight was not my favorite but it was a story that needed to be told.