Moonlight and the Art of Silence

Written by Nelson Cumming

Barry Jenkin’s Moonlight is a fantastic movie to say the least. The themes ring loud and true even when dialogue is sparse. Moonlight ultimately explores repression and the yearning for a relief from that repression.

Repression is the umbrella for the themes such as homosexuality, masculinity, and yearning for acceptance in an unjust world. Moonlight tells the story of a boy called Chiron in three stages. First as a boy (i.Little), then as a teenager (ii Chiron) and finally as a man (iii. Black). Chiron is black, gay and poor. He has no father and his mother is a drug addict. His father figure (Played by Mahershala Ali who just nails it) is a drug dealer who supplies his mother with drugs.

Even though Moonlight explores the struggles of a person expressing homosexuality, I see a broader message of the struggle of sacrificing a bit of yourself to blend into society. That is because any child who suffers because of that would act in exactly the same way as Moonlight shows in Chiron.

Acting in the Art of Silence

Image result for three actors in moonlight
You need to see these three actors. They make you feel how they feel and say very little. From left to right: Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes

As you may be thinking, Moonlight is explict in terms how showing the toxic environment of Chiron’s life, but the most important parts are when they are at their most subtle. The best moments were the three scenes that concluded Chiron’s life segments. They each added a significant layer to the character. The final scene flawed me. It sneaks up on you and gets you when you least expect it. The reason for that is what I call the art of silence.

The art of silence for acting is conveying a lot of information by saying and doing so little. It is so difficult to do yet all three actors who play Chiron play it brilliantly. All three act like damaged people who are internalizing themselves because the society they live in shuns who they are.

This is what makes Moonlight unique from a lot of movies about homosexuality. I cannot think of a movie that explores how the suppression and condemnation of homosexuality impacted a person throughout their entire life in the way Moonlight portrayed it. The end result is something quite powerful, extraordinary and unexpected. It didn’t hit me until the very end ****3/4

Endnote

I am slow man. I didn’t realise that A24 Pictures was a production company. I do now. After looking at their filming catelogue I have come to the conclusion that they are the best movie studio currently in existence. To prove it to you, including Moonlight, I have review four movies from them and here were the star ratings I gave them.

Green Room:****1/2

Moonlight and The Lobster: ****3/4

Room:*****

The Lobster and Room both made my top ten list of 2016 (Number 5 and 2 respectively) and Moonlight also would have had I saw it last year.

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