By Jordyn Fitch ’20
So you’re thinking about seeing Moonlight [February 17, Spaulding Auditorium]? Good. That’s a very good place to start. Please, don’t be too put off by this post’s self-effacing title: director Barry Jenkins’ coming-of-age story is a sublime, intimate and beautifully dysfunctional one. It relates one young man’s troubled home life as he grows up in Miami during the heat of the “War on Drugs.” Told over three defining chapters of his life, Jenkins’ tale deftly explores the conflicting ideas of race, masculinity and LGBT identity, causing his viewers to leave the theater with his poignant and heartwrenching message seared into their very cores.
And here, my dear readers, is where I stumble upon my soap box and slap on a large rainbow warning label: THIS FILM IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. I left the theater troubled, unsettled and empty, yet moved beyond belief. That is the power of this film. It demands to be felt. Not only this, but I believe its message is one that is extremely important, now more than ever.
Still not convinced? Have I mentioned it just won the Golden Globe for Best Drama? No? Well, it did. Still not convinced? Really? Well, here’s the part where I list eight movies that I feel evoke similar feelings in the viewer, or that tackle similar topics. If you’ve seen any of the below and enjoyed them, odds are you’ll probably enjoy Moonlight, too. And if you haven’t seen or liked any of these films, that’s rather unfortunate–but please, do yourself a favor: go see Moonlight anyway.
PRECIOUS: Another coming-of-age story centered on an African American inner-city youth with a moral that also speaks to the bleakness of the prospects for underprivileged youth.
KILL YOUR DARLINGS: Speaks to the challenges of dealing with an LGBTQ identity.
PARIAH: Concerned with growing up as an African American in the inner city and struggling with coming to terms with an LGBTQ identity.
DANCER IN THE DARK: A story about misunderstanding of identity with a heartwrenching, empty ending.
AND THE BAND PLAYED ON: Loosely about the struggles of the LGBTQ community, culminating in an unsettling, unresolved ending.
BOYZ IN THE HOOD: A coming-of-age story set in the ghetto of Los Angeles that dissects questions of race and relationships and erupts in a heartbreaking ending.
THE MIST: One of the most depressing and unsettling endings in all of cinematic history.
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST: Just super sad, everything is sad. Moonlight is so sad, and now I am sad, thinking about all these movies, but you should still see them.
Jordyn Fitch ’20 is from Miami, FL, works as a hop production assistant, binges television unhealthily and is interested in studying film and media studies with a concentration in screenwriting.