Now that a few weeks have passed and the music playing in stores has gone back to the top 40 hits and the streets are dim without holiday lights, it is officially my favorite time of year: Oscar season.
Every year, I write a list of every movie I believe will be nominated for an award and make a point to see it. And then when the nominations come out and there are ones that weren't on my original list, I make a new list and get started. Everything from Best Picture to Best Visual Effects is important to me... And while my opinion is still simply my opinion, you can at least count on me to have seen absolutely everything.
This season, it seems like I'm walking out of the theater every time thinking, "That was the best one." I mean, really, we are being spoiled with excellent films... And it seems like the one everyone can't stop talking about Is "La La Land," and I absolutely understand why that is. "La La Land" is an incredible movie that is both nostalgic and modern, uplifting and heartbreaking. But I'm not here to talk about "La La Land." I'm here because I recently had the pleasure of seeing the movie, "Moonlight" and days later, I can't stop thinking about it.
"Moonlight" is a coming-of-age drama directed by Barry Jenkins. It follows Chiron and is split into three different parts-- narrating three important chapters of Chiron's life. It's possible that you've heard this film described as, "the movie about the gay, black boy." And while simplistic, it is true. But within that truth, there is so much more.
"Moonlight" brings up questions of masculinity, family, friendship, drugs, romance, and identity. Each point is touched upon beautifully, shown in quiet scenes and unlikely relationships. Quiet. I think that's why I'm so drawn to this movie. When watching Chiron's life unfold before me, I didn't feel like I was in a movie theater. I wasn't thinking about the actors, I wasn't trying to predict what would happen, and I wasn't fidgeting in my seat. I was immersed in Chiron's world. It's so real in its quietness.
If you are going to see a movie this year, see "Moonlight."
It is important for so many reasons. Here is a boy who gets the crap beaten out of him by the world; literally and figuratively. And I think that in society today, when we see a black man struggle the way Chiron struggles, we expect violence, acting out, and loud, abrupt decisions. But this is not the path Jenkins leads us down. Instead, we watch a boy turn into a man who is just as afraid, confused, and vulnerable in adulthood as he was in childhood. We watch him fold into himself rather than act out. In fact, Chiron rarely speaks throughout the film. He is heard through his facial expressions, his slight movements, and his open and wandering eyes.
What Jenkins, and everyone who worked on this film, has achieved is incredible.
This film is raw... And what it comes down to is a human being who is trying to find himself.
So no matter where you've been, who you are, or where you might be going, you will relate to something or someone in "Moonlight." And it will speak directly to your heart, just like it did to mine.