Kamloops Film Festival in review: Moonlight

Each year, The Omega reviews the films presented at the Kamloops Film Festival. The festival came to a close on March 11.

Moonlight washes over you like a wave, it is quiet and powerful. It is a story of self-acceptance and discovery, depicting the struggle of accepting your own sexuality. Directed by Barry Jenkins, it follows young Chiron as he grows up in the Miami housing district.

The film follows Chiron through three stages of his life, as he goes from a young boy nicknamed Little (Alex R. Hibbert) to a teenager struggling with his sexuality and drug addict mother (Ashton Sanders) to a grown adult nicknamed Black who has moved to Atlanta (Trevante Rhodes).

In each stage of his life, Chiron is faced with the same problems of drug abuse and identity. In the first stage of his life, Little meets Juan (Mahershala Ali), a man who is no stranger to themes of pain in his own life but becomes a father figure for Little.

Although Juan is a drug dealer, the film uses these racial stereotypes and genre tropes in order to break them. Little understands that Juan does bad things in order to make a living, but is not a bad or scary person.

The cinematography by James Laxton is soft with a brilliant purple and blue hue that really shines in almost every single shot. The direction and screenplay by Jenkins is subtle and doesn’t take too morbid of a stance on the issues he is presenting to the audience. Jenkins often incorporates a strong sense of relatability in his characters.

Moonlight took home the Oscar for best picture, best adapted screenplay and best supporting actor. It was packed full of great performances, giving a new outlook on important issues of today. The film specifically looks at issues of sexuality, the negative impacts of masculinity and neglect in childhood.

This film is not only extremely important, it is so incredibly breathtaking.