By Ricardo Torres Olmeda (Caguas, P.R)
The Golden Globe winner, Moonlight, did a magnificent job by showing some of the many hardships LGBT youth face while growing up. Representation played a big role in this movie, as the main character Chiron, was both black and gay, something unlikely to see in movies nowadays. I really connected with the movie as I finally got to see someone like me in the big screen; even in the LGBT media it’s really rare to see a person of color portrayed. The film’s main focus was first love and homophobia, but also touched other issues like bullying and drugs, being a well-rounded movie.
The story was divided in three parts, showing the growth of the main character through childhood, adolescence and adulthood. In the first part, i. Little, we are introduced to Chiron, played by Alex Hilbert, a withdrawn child that is continuously bullied because he’s gay. The boy later meets Juan (Mahershala Ali), a crack dealer that took care of Chiron after saving him from some bullies. We soon find out that Paula (Naomie Harries), Chiron’s mom, is addicted to crack and really abusive towards Chiron, Juan confronts her but the argument leads nowhere. During this part we are also introduced to Kevin, the first boy that befriended Chiron, they quickly had grown closer to each other.
Now in the second part, ii. Chiron, Chiron (played now by Ashton Sanders) is a teenager, but still deals with being bullied, his mother’s crack addiction and his sexuality. In this part, Chiron has his first ever sexual experience with his childhood friend Kevin, which ultimately ended in tragedy. Later in the third part, iii. Black, Chiron (played now by Trevante Rhodes) now an adult, went through a really drastic change from a shy skinny gay boy to a muscular gay drug dealer. Even though he physically changed, on the inside he was still tormented by his abusive childhood and the fact that he would only ever love one man, Kevin.
The movie did a splendid job by showing the growth of Chiron with three different actors, the one that really outdid himself was Ashton Sanders. He perfectly portrayed the life of a black teenage gay boy, showing the dire conditions the black community live in to this day. The interaction between Chiron and Kevin was really important, as in every movie done by the LGBT media, it’s really common to see the characters being oversexualized, a really big problem of the community itself. This movie showed that there can be sexual scenes, but in a tender and non-exaggerated way. Also it clearly showed that a film can have a gay black male lead and still be successful, it doesn’t always has to be a cis gay white male. This movie clearly deserved the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama.
Moonlight really outdid itself by being a truly unique movie, I would totally recommend this film to everybody. You don’t have to be gay to understand the plot and to connect with the characters. It’s such a well-rounded film that deals with many social issues, so everyone can identify with any of its characters. It clearly showed the ingrained homophobia in our society and the hardships black people have to deal with to survive.