As a part of African Ancestry Month, Laurel Hall hosted a screening of Barry Jenkins' “Moonlight,” which was the recipient of the 2017 Academy Award for Best Picture.
Written initially as a semi-autobiographical play entitled “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” by Tarell Alvin McCraney, the film delves into the complexities of growing up as an LGBT youth while feeling like an outcast while also being in the African American community.
The movie centers on Chiron, a young, gay, African-American man during three important stages of his life: Chiron as a child, teenager and adult.
It further focuses on his struggles as he grows up, questioning his identity and growing up with his mother Paula (Naomie Harris), who is addicted to crack and often leaves Chiron unattended for hours on end, and how that affects his relationships with others around him.
Chiron winds up spending time with drug dealer Juan (Mahershala Ali) and his girlfriend Teresa (Janelle Monaé), who become better guardians than Paula was to Chiron.
Throughout the movie there is the undeniable force of drugs and the roles it plays in the lives of Chiron and others. Juan dies before the second act of the movie, and we see Paula descend into a worse state during the second act before getting better in the third act.
Chiron is a lonely person because of how others perceive him, and his most significant friendship and romantic relationship is with his childhood friend Kevin, who winds up coming into conflict with him during the second act.
There is redemption for him in the third act, and that is one of the best parts about the movie, that there is not just redemption for Kevin, but Paula as well. These characters have many intricacies and show throughout the film that they deserve to have a second chance to show how they can redeem themselves and improve.
Many students had a lot to say about the movie.
“It makes me sad,” said freshman Stephanie Steiner-Otoo, “because it’s a reality of many others everywhere. It was good but sad. I like how it did move slowly because there were some parts that were hard to take in and other movies would have been like ‘bam bam bam’ but this movie was slower.”
“I thought the movie was really great," said freshman Christian Cifuentes, “It was very moving as well. The message that despite all the struggles it’ll be fine at the end had me in love with it.”
“I liked it,” said freshman Serene Rahman, “my only problem with it was the long pauses where they tried to make it profound but it was really just drawn out.”
“Moonlight,” was a great film to show not only to celebrate African Ancestry Month but to show the intersectional issues that exist within communities. Providing the audience with a nuanced, carefully scripted and acted movie, it goes to show how important representation is and the positive impacts it can have on those going through similar situations.