Moonlight: Movie Review

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Van Faust-Stephenson | vfauststephenso@email.radford.edu

Last week, the Diversity Awareness Program and the on-campus LGBTQ+ club, Spectrum, hosted a showing of the coming-of-age drama “Moonlight,” a story about a black gay male growing up and dealing with how the world responds to not only his sexuality but also who he is in general. As a note, Moonlight is a movie with sexual themes, deals with discrimination, and has some language that some will find offensive; while these moments are short and mostly handled with delicacy, be warned if you are planning to watch it and have don’t think you, or someone you’re watching with, may be able to handle it.

The movie is told in three acts, each representing a different part of our main character, Chiron’s, life, with the first act representing his childhood. The movie begins with Chiron, referred to as ‘Little,’ being chased by a group of schoolchildren for reasons said at the end of the act; Chiron hides in an abandoned home until being found by a drug dealer named Juan. The majority of this act sets up the rest of the movie, Juan acting as a mentor to Chiron by telling him to find his way in life, and introducing Chiron’s drug-addicted mother and his friend Kevin.

The second act takes place during Chiron’s teen years in high school. Now bullied for his sexuality, Chiron now switches between staying at his broken home with his seemingly beyond help mother and with Teresa, Juan’s girlfriend. It is this act that the movie starts to focus more on the relationship between Chiron, now nicknamed ‘Black,’ and Kevin. The two are portrayed as each other’s best friend and even romance interest, until certain events, which I won’t list here, drive the two apart.

The third act, with Chiron now as an adult, is hard to talk about in a review setting due to the nature of it being filled to the brim with spoilers. What I can say, though, is that it’s a bit hard to see adult Chiron as the same Chiron from the previous two acts due to how much had happened in the time between acts. While the movie explains everything it needs to for the final act to make sense, it still has a bit of whiplash to it, and it would have been nice to have the movie go into more depth as to how Chiron ends up how he is in the future.

It’s hard to talk about this movie because, while the plot is somewhat basic, the details and way everything is presented are truly how the movie tells its story; and, while I am not a fan of the way it presents some of its plot points, I cannot deny that it still shows what it wants and does it in a way not many other movies do. The acting is truly one of the better parts of the film, and the soundtrack is almost wholly original, not resorting to using the song-of-the-month like most movies tend to do. While it’s not my type of movie, I can still see the quality throughout it, and I give Moonlight a 7/10.

As for information regarding the hosts of this event; Spectrum is the on-campus LGBTQ+ alliance club, meeting at six p.m on Wednesdays in Heth Hall Room 043 with a support group taking place afterward, they also have an office in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion in the same hall. The Diversity Awareness Program is a programming board that meets in Heth Hall Room 044 at five p.m on Tuesdays; the DAP is committed to helping inform and raise awareness of minorities across the world by hosting on-campus events such as this one.