Moonlight ★★★★★

Who is you, Chiron?

Yes, who is Chiron? This question is asked in one form or another throughout this film, and we don't get an answer. And why should we? Why should a young man who is repeatedly beaten and bullied every time he lets down his guard show an ounce of his true self? Why should he when at home he is hated for just existing, for being a burden his mother cannot bare?

So we don't get a clear answer. What we do get are little glimpses. Learning to swim; the bath; asking Juan and Teresa about the word "f*ggot"; the TV; the hallway conversation with Kevin; the looks in the mirror and so, so many more all provide a peak at who Chiron really is. This all leads to one of the most cathartic and beautiful closings of a film I've ever seen. Moonlight totally earns this release because of the care and deep empathy it has for its characters and their situations.

I've written this in reviews before, but it's impossible not to bring the context of our daily lives to a film when we're watching it. My viewing of Moonlight was no different. I couldn't help but wonder about how much of himself Chiron would share in an America that just elected Donald Trump as President. I wondered how he would feel in Miami, just a few hours south of the gay nightclub massacre that occurred just seven months ago. We all keep parts of ourselves secret from the world, but this is doubly true for people who have been historically and continually marginalized. How can they know who to trust? Is it even worth it to put themselves out there? Will they feel any better for doing it? Moonlight doesn't provide an answer to any of these questions, but what it does provide is hope that maybe you're not the only person feeling these things too. Maybe you're not alone.

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