Seeing In Technicolor w/ "Moonlight"
Coming just off the back of Pride month, and an entire four years later, I figured it was the perfect time to re-watch probably one of the most beautiful and painful films I’ve ever seen. An Academy Award winner for Best Picture in 2016, this film had me shook to my core and drowning in tears. But damn was it worth it! And although some of you may not get as emotional in films as I definitely do, Moonlight will still have you thinking about the ripples and consequences your actions create in life. Like waves in the ocean, or tears running down a face. Trust me when I say, this film provides a perspective you didn’t know you needed in your life.
Initially taking place in the 1980’s Miami until present day, Moonlight is the story of a boy, teenager, then man, who grows up battling extreme internal and external conflicts. As the years pass and new chapters of life are written, Protagonist “Chiron” gives viewers an inside point of view on what it’s like to grow up in a society where LGBTQ rights aren’t respected, stereotypes run high, and drug addicted mothers care more about their fix than the wellbeing of their own child. And though that may not seem like the most uncommon synopsis, it is when you think about the perspective were gaining, and from who. Moonlight does so good a job of bringing you into the eyes and world of Chiron, you feel all his pain. All. Of. It. Every cruel word and painful silence. Every punch and every kick. And let’s not forget, the power of eye contact.
To push viewers even further down the abyss of self-reflection and subsequent intake of knowledge, the score in this film is what really pushes me over the edge – as far as waterworks are concerned. We all know a films score is what helps brings all the elements of storytelling together. It sets the tone, atmosphere, and keeps emotions teetering on a precarious line between keeping your cool and having to pull yourself together. Moonlight’s score does all the above and then some, ensuring viewers are hit right in the feels to the point where you’ll either sob like me, or seriously start reflecting on past, present and future choice of words and/or actions taken in one’s life. Or, of course, both!
And maybe Moonlight wasn’t meant to be a sad film. Maybe it was simply meant to be informative and beautiful. Maybe Director Barry Jenkins was just trying to highlight a part of life that has been overlooked, or simply not thought of as a perspective other people needed to understand. Whatever the case, Moonlight does an exceptional job at all of this. Not only do you find yourself at the end of the film with a new understanding of human life, but you’ll also find yourself being empathetic versus sympathetic. And this alone underlines the extraordinary lengths this film takes to ensure its audience goes from seeing in hues of black and white, to technicolor. Like the refraction of light through a prism, you’ll disperse with the story and find a better version of yourself, by the end of it.
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