Moonlight is a serious film about a boy (Chiron) aged 10 who lives with his mother on a Miami housing project. The film reveals how other boys at his school tend to influence the identity of Chiron by bullying him. He displays a shy demeanour and does not mix well. However, he is befriended by Juan (Mahershala Ali) the local drug dealer who acts as a father figure to Chiron. He teaches him to swim and improve his posture when sitting in a chair.
The underlying reason for his lack of integration with other boys is because homosexual tendencies, latent while younger, begin to arise in his early teens. As Chiron moves through these years he develops his physique, presumably as a guard against further physical attacks
The film is arranged in three parts showing Chiron during his school days’ period, then into his teenage years and then manhood. During each period, he is played by Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes.
This powerful film succeeds in showing how all the events work towards changing the character/ identity of Chiron.
Golden Globes: 'Moonlight' won the 'Best Motion Picture,' Drama, 2017
Director-screenwriter Barry Jenkins told reporters backstage that the purpose of the film "was to tell a very truthful story about growing up.
In 2003, Tarell Alvin McCraney wrote the semi-autobiographical play, 'In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,' to cope with his mother's death from AIDS. The theater piece was shelved for about a decade before it served as the basis for Moonlight
Further comments about the film by Hamid Dabashi : Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.
"Moonlight narrates the story of one fragile black boy called Chiron as he grows up in a poor neighbourhood in Miami to become a strong, handsome young man having built a robust muscular fortress of a body around his frightened fragile soul inside.
Moonlight is about growing up poor, black, fragile, and frightened; bewilderedly meandering your way through a wasteland of poverty, drug abuse, violence, and a lonesome soul's search for solace. Moonlight is about the caring and competent hand of an artist gently searching in those very debris of debilitating destitution and finding a jewel of aesthetic craftsmanship to behold and marvel.
From the rock-bottom roots of urban destitution Barry Jenkins has made a beautifully self-conscious work of art that has found a passage to itself on the borderline of so many other lost souls.
But Chiron is no abstraction. He is the living indictment of the world that has terrorised him. His survival in Barry Jenkins' art is the sublated consciousness of that world, its moral abnegation, aesthetic consolation."