After the Oscar debacle, I knew I had to see Moonlight. I mean, it’s obvious that I loved La La Land from my review, but I’m so unbelievably glad that Moonlight stole the title of Best Picture. It was much more deserving.
And no, this is not the case simply because the film has an all black cast. It is not the case simply because it is a LGBTQ+ film. It is not for any political reason whatsoever. The film was just damn good.
Moonlight is split into three chapters: Little, Chiron and Black. Each chapter features the main character, Chiron (nicknamed Little and Black), at a different stage in his life. Three different actors appeared in each chapter: Alex R. Hibbert played Little, Ashton Sanders as Chiron and Trevante Rhodes played Black. However, what I find most compelling is (according to IMDb) no actor was allowed to see another actor perform. I told my boyfriend when leaving the cinema that I was impressed how each actor could replicate the same attitude and mannerisms, but this apparently is not the case. Each actor was allowed to show the character in a way they imagined him to be, and this resulted in something beautiful and, what I had thought, was completely planned.
Furthermore, in some cases, editing can be sticky and jarring if a story is laid out like this one. I felt Barry Jenkins was able to deal with these changes effortlessly and no aspect of the film was compromised.
The acting also blew me away. There is a particularly heartbreaking scene from Hibbert when he asks what a “faggot” is. This scene was so raw and beautifully performed that I truly hope the young man keeps acting for years to come.
But it wasn’t just Hibbert that touched my heart. Like I said before, each actor was able to capture exactly what the character needed. Support actors and actresses were also stunning – especially Naomie Harris. I personally believe she should have just won Best Actress regardless of the fact she’s not a starring role. She’s much better than plateauing Emma Stone.
Overall, Moonlight was a touching story about masculinity and sexuality. During one scene I found myself cringing and wriggling uncomfortably in my seat. I took a moment to ask myself why. Why was this film confusing me? Then, I realised.
Moonlight shows no stereotype of homosexuality. In so many different medias we are greeted with flamboyant, camp, feminine and physically weak gay men. The romances we are usually faced with are relationships featuring a couple much like a heterosexual couple: one very camp whereas the other is more masculine. The constant question is asked, “Who’s the man in the relationship? Who’s the girl?” It took me a moment but I realised the reason I was having trouble digesting what I was watching was because I simply wasn’t used to seeing this kind of portrayal. These men were tough, strong and incredibly masculine. This was the root of so many problems for our character and I felt myself struggle to understand along with him.
So, no, this film didn’t win simply because the 2016 Oscars was too white. It won because it is moving, the cinematography is beautiful and the acting is above and beyond whatever La La Land could throw at you.
There, I said it.