By Edward Henderson
On Wednesday, November 2nd, I had the opportunity to preview ‘Moonlight’ the critically acclaimed independent film by Barry Jenkins. The film focuses on the story of Chiron, a young black boy growing up in a Miami project called ‘The Bottom’. Constantly teased by his peers for appearing to be Gay, Chiron is taken in by Juan (Mahershala Ali), a local drug dealer who sympathized with his struggle to fit in. The film portrays Chiron’s life in three chapters touching on his adolescence, teenage years, and young adulthood. The one constant in all three phases of Chiron’s life is Kevin (Andre Holland), who was a childhood friend that eventually evolved into a romantic relationship.
One of the most powerful aspects of this film to me was the beautiful cinematography full of rich colors and realism that really drew the audience into the story and setting. Jenkins’ skill as a director is on full display as the 1 hour and 50 minute film feels a lot shorter than it is, which can be attributed to getting being completely present in the moment. The film was also well written and executed by the actors. There were many moments of silence in the film that spoke just as loudly as the dialogue, painting an emotional picture that doesn’t get shown often in our community. Yes, homosexuality is still an issue for some, but beyond that, this film is a touching depiction of love and how it transcends labels.
After the screening, I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel with Jerry McCormick, Associate Producer at Fox 5 San Diego and Professor at City College. He shared his appreciation for this film, citing that he saw a lot of himself in it. Like Chiron, McCormick grew up navigating being Gay in a southern environment that didn’t respond well to it. He also spoke on the importance of supporting films like this so that more can be made. Moonlight is currently being shown at Hillcrest Cinemas and Arclight La Jolla. Click here for ticket information.