Best Picture ‘Moonlight’ presents character study, inclusion

Alex R. Hibbert in Moonlight. Contributed photo by David Bornfriend

Tyler Manning

After a moment of controversy, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences named the film Moonlight as best picture during the 89th Academy Awards.

Moonlight is a film directed by Barry Jenkins and stars Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Janelle Monáe, and Trevante Rhodes. The movie tells the life story of Chiron, a homosexual man growing up in Miami and explores the themes of inclusion and self-discovery.

Ultimately, Moonlight is an incredibly well directed, acted and written film that acts as a touching character study and an important social commentary. To start off, the directing of this movie is phenomenal. The film is tightly focused around the life of its main character Chiron and the events and people who influence him to become the man he is. It is apparent that director Barry Jenkins has an extensive knowledge of the world he presents in the film. The film is well paced, ensuring to never bore the audience, and the cinematography is beautiful.


As for the acting, every actor embodies their roles brilliantly, making each character feel genuine and real. The character of Chiron is played by three different actors (Alex Hibbert, Aston Sanders and Trevante Rhodes) each portraying Chiron in different stages of his life; all doing a phenomenal job. Each actor brings a new element to the character while also building off each others’ performances giving a sense of authenticity to the character. Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris are equally brilliant in this movie.

The great writing in this film also does a excellent job of giving authenticity to the characters. Interpersonal conflict is written in a way that feels natural, the dialogue feels genuine and characters react to their surroundings much like real people do.

Looking at the themes this film explore, Moonlight delves into the topics of self-discovery and inclusion. The film argues the negative effects of parental neglect and persecution on a growing individual. Due to his inability to connect with his peers and the neglect he feels from his drug addicted mother, Chiron latches onto the first parental figure he comes across, a drug dealer named Juan. Through the Juan the film stress the importance if self-discovery. He teaches Chiron to swim and tells him that he is the one who determines the individual he wants to become.

As for inclusion, the film stresses its importance during puberty and how vital it is in determining what shapes an individual. Chiron is bullied throughout high school, often being publicly humiliated and physically attacked for being gay. This persecution leads Chiron to act out against his abusers and ultimately sends him down the wrong path: prison.

Overall, Moonlight is an important character study that presents the struggle many members of the LGBT community face today. It’s well-deserved win of best picture at this year Academy Awards is a great accomplishment for the LGBT community and an important step in ensuring more inclusion and diversity in Hollywood. Bravo, Moonlight.

RATING: 9.5/10

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