There are few movies that leave me speechless. I am someone that tends to talk, all the time and I almost never shut my mouth but sometimes, the beauty of what I see hits me and writing seems easier because I know I can take all the time I want to gather my thoughts, organize them and try to see further than what I thought the second I finished the movie. It happened to me with "call me by your name" (see review 1 if you want to learn more about this extraordinary masterpiece), and it happened again with "Moonlight". In this particular movie, every single image, every single stare, tell more than a thousand words could.

Moonlight isn't an easy movie, and it doesn't hide anything, or try to hide anything of the hardness it shows. The heroe of the movie, Chiron, is a black kid who grows up "on the wrong side of the tracks", in a pretty bad suburb in Miami. His mom is on drugs and doesn't really cares about him, except when she needs money, and he is bullied during his entire childhood, and during some of his teenage years. Chiron is a quiet kid, whose eyes speak more than his words, and that life isn't really sweet with. Throughout the movie, the young boy evolves, becomes a teenager still looking for himself and discovering what he wantss, needs and cares for and ends up as an adult who tries to erase a part of who he was because he is scared of falling back into the same pattern he went through before.

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Chiron's mom

Even though life isn't easy on Chiron, it gives him some people that help him, in their own way and that show that even in tough districts, and even when you feel like hope is kinda lost, the right people find you. Those "right people", in Chiron's case, are Juan, a big, wealthy, well known drug dealer and his girlfriend Teresa. One day, trying to escape from some other kids, little Chiron locks himself in a building and is later found by Juan. The man understands Chiron's situation and give the little boy something extraordinarily simple : attention and care. He feeds him, protects him, makes him feel safe and, most importantly, he makes Chiron feel like he deserves his attention. And even if it doesn't stop the kid from being bullied, and it doesn't make his mother quit drugs, even if it doesn't have a DIRECT impact on Chiron's life, Juan's appearance is the first thing that shows him he has some value. As for Teresa, she looks after Chiron like a mother would, in her own way, tries to help him and she is still to me, an important character because she represents goodness, kindness and generosity, that most people would doubt to find in places like the bad suburbs of Miami. Juan dies during the boy's childhood, but the example he gave Chiron, of a man that doesn't let anybody else impress him or tell him what to do, plays a role in the boy's late evolution.

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Chiron grows up and turns into a teenager that doesn't seem very different from the kid he used to be, always looking sheepish, unable to rise againt those who bully him, always looking down. But he is also a teenager that looks for who he is, tries to be good, and never answers to violence with violence. His mom still take drugs and asks him for money regularly, sometimes with great violence. Chiron tries to keep her from taking his money but can't get away from her and still look like he has hope for her to change, to be a better mother to him. He experiences "love" for the first time with Kevin, his only friend, who he ends up on a beach with one night. Kevin looks brave but proves later that he isn't actually a very courageous boy. Chiron's teenage years are just like his childhood : filled with violence and hardness, to which he responds with silence. But throughout all those moments, hope seems right beneath the surface and that is where the strenght of the images is, to me, absolutely extraodinary : by showing how hopeless Chiron's situation seems, by giving so much power to the atmosphere filled with violence and anger, by turning every look into a million sentences, the aesthetic of the movie shows that there is hope everywhere, even when you don't see it clearly and that the smallest little moments of sweetness can bring something absolutely new and needed to anyone's life.

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Chiron and Kevin on the beach
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After experiencing love for the first time with Kevin, in a scene where, once again, stares and moves talk better than words, Chiron ends up being beaten by his friend, who follows the orders of the kid who's bullied him since he was a child. Suddenly, all the sweetness in Chiron seems to fade as he stands up 3 times in a row without listening to Kevin, who must beat him until he can't get up anymore. The chief and his friends finish the work and beat him once he lays on the ground, until a teacher comes out and stops them. Chiron's change is very quick, he stares at himself in a mirror, like someone who doesn't recognize themselves. He looks determined and resigned to finally do what he never wanted to : the next morning, walking fast as if he was scared to change his mind, he arrives in class and, without saying a single word, smashes his chair on the bully leader's head. Chiron's stare seems empty and he looks withdrawn within himself as the police officers take him away from school.

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As an adult, Chiron has become a successful drug dealer, works out and his eyes seem to have lost that glimpse of light that used to live in them, despite everything else. He has lost or hidden a part of who he used to be, and once again, we only see it thanks to the amazing images. That is at that precise moment that redemption comes along. Chiron's mom, who had mistreated him for years, who only cared about drugs and only talked to her son when she needed money sees the way he has evolved and tries to tell him that it isn't the real him. She apologizes, says she doesn't expect him to love her and thanks to that, she highlights one of the most beautiful things in the movie : the fact that even in harsh backgrounds, people don't follow the same pattern over and over again, that they change and are capable of realizing their mistakes and that even if we do wrong, it is never too late to fix things, in our own way. Moonlight, by showing all the flaws of its very imperfect characters, by describing how bad they handle situations and by depicting their inner evolution, points out something that we must never forget : mistakes are made, bad decisions are taken but forgiveness is sometimes the only way to make things change and the hope for a second chance is sometimes the only thing people need to find the strenght to change, and try fix what they broke. Moonlight didn't hit me as Call me by your name did, but I believe it is a very deep movie, in which every detail counts and that speaks to each person
who sees it in a different way. It leaves you with a ton of questions and tackles many problems but it also shows that even people that do things most people would consider as reprehensible have good in them, and that hope is everywhere, for people who see it.

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