Why 'Moonlight' Should Win Best Picture
Start writing a post

Why 'Moonlight' Should Win Best Picture

Hopefully this year we can put the #OscarsSoWhite trend behind us

Why 'Moonlight' Should Win Best Picture
David Bornfriend/A24

Although La La Land is the film that left critics and audiences buzzing this award show season – and rightfully so – I believe that Moonlight most deserves to win best picture.

The movie is a stunning portrait of Chiron, a poor, black boy growing up in the projects of Miami, struggling with questions of his sexuality, race, class and ultimately his place in the world. The narrative is split into three parts: his time as a young boy learning from his mentor Juan (Mahershala Ali), his time as a sexually confused teenager subjected to constant bullying by his classmates and his time as a young adult who both defied and conformed to his circumstances.

The cinematography is simple and understated, oftentimes shot in shaky long takes that make the audience feel as if they are right next to – or even in the shoes of – Chiron. The colors are appropriately deep and moody, most noticeably highlighting dark hues of blue and purple. The soundtrack is subtle and demanding at once, flawlessly capturing the dichotomies of Chiron’s maturation – innocence versus experience, silence versus expression, responsibility versus recklessness. Each actor’s performance is simple and breathtaking, inviting the audience to immerse themselves in Chiron’s reality.

This is the key difference that I found between La La Land and Moonlight. Each stunning and deserving in their own right, I felt that I was hyper-aware of La La Land as a film, whereas with Moonlight, I found myself wholly submerged within it.

In fact, the most beautiful scene of the film literally submerges the audience in the ocean as Juan first teaches Chiron how to swim. The camera bobs up and down with the waves, half underwater, as Juan supports Chiron while he floats on his back in a baptism-like sequence. Afterwards, while they sit together on the beach, Juan tells Chiron: “At some point, you gotta decide for yourself who you're going to be. Can't let nobody make that decision for you.”

This moment, I think, perfectly encapsulates the message that writer-director Barry Jenkins was trying to convey with Moonlight. The audience first watches Chiron learn about his reality as a boy, asking questions about drug pedaling and what the word “faggot” means. We then see him testing the limits of this newly acquired knowledge in his adolescent years, experimenting sexually, facing off against his bullies and coming to terms with his mother’s drug addiction. Finally, we see how all of these experiences shape him into the young man that he becomes in the film’s wonderfully quiet conclusion.

With Moonlight, Jenkins isn’t just trying to narrate a sullen coming-of-age story with a rarely scripted gay, black protagonist. In fact, despite the film’s moroseness, I walked out of the theater content and remarkably calm. With Moonlight, Jenkins tries and succeeds in universalizing the story of Chiron, a character of minority. He creates a space for audiences to empathize with a person that may be born and bred into entirely different circumstances than their own.

In short, Jenkins reminds us with Jaun’s words that despite our circumstances, we alone are responsible for who we become, that coming-of-age is a shared part of the human experience, that we’re not so different after all – a message we must work to understand now more than ever.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments