Moonlight

LetterboxD review link

There have been a few movies in recent years that I have described, to myself or others, as atmospheric. Neon Demon and Under the Skin come to mind. I will add Moonlight to this list. That they all achieve some part of this “atmospheric-ness” through sexuality is probably not a coincidence. But sexuality is realized very differently across these films, not least because sexuality for their protagonists means something completely different.

During and after this film, it took me some time to shake a feeling of uneasiness. Every corner Chiron turned, I feared for him. His world-view, his sense of discomfort in his skin as a young man, and his constant vigilance, even in his own home, was telegraphed perfectly by the director. As a viewer, I was never at ease, and that’s how I imagine Chiron felt throughout his life.

I read this cliche often, about literature, film, and art altogether - “the universal is in the specific.” Moonlight is a shining example of this maxim. By telling the story of this one man’s life, building this character from child, to teenager, to adult, we get an exploration of masculinity, race, sexuality, family and creation of self that will stand for ages.

Also, don’t miss the Fresh Air interview with Barry Jenkins and Tarell McCraney. It’s the best companion piece to this film I’ve come across.