• Zach Youngs

Zach's 10 Favorite Movies: 3. Moonlight (2016)

"Shit, I cry so much sometimes I feel like I'm gonna turn into drops." - Chiron

I was lucky enough to see Moonlight in its theatrical run. I loved the trailer and was more excited to see this film than any other in the fall of 2016. It's a memorable screening for me for two reasons. The first is that someone in that audience had a glass jar of something. How do I know? Part way through the film, there was a loud crash, then the sound of a hundred spherical objects cascading down the hard floor of the slanted auditorium. Was it marbles, ball bearings, gum balls, Skittles, some other spherical candy? I have no idea, but that was the most bizarre thing that has ever happened for me in a theater.

The second thing I can't forget is the feeling I had when the lights came up. My heart was pounding, my hands were shaking and my body was on autopilot. I know I left the SIFF Egyptian because the next thing I remember is slowing down to cross the street in my neighborhood. I had ridden the train to the UW station and just kept walking out of the station the twenty odd blocks to my apartment. I couldn't stop thinking about what I had just seen. There were several points at which I was on the verge of tears again.

The second kitchen table scene between Juan, Little (Chiron), and Theresa. The beach rendezvous between Chiron and Kevin. Kevin's beating of Chiron. Kevin and Black's (Chiron) reunion and the tender moment they share at the end. I just kept replaying the film over and over and over and over in my mind. I'd never had anything hit me like that in my life. I'd never felt my heart beat like that for a film before. It speaks so truthfully to masculinity, sexuality, and identity, upending, molding and changing each one into a subversion of our expectations. I couldn't and I didn't want to stop thinking about it. I never want to stop thinking about it.

I feel like I'll always be searching for my identity in the world. That's where I find the longing in Moonlight. It's in Chiron's search for self and submission of self in order to survive. When Kevin asks, "Who is you, man?" it's more than a question of how Chiron became the man in front of him and a question about why Chiron feels he has to hide himself from the world. That question allows him to open himself to Kevin, something he's been longing for since that night on the beach.

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