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Searching for Moonlight

WARNING: spoilers for the movie Moonlight are to follow.

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing one of 2016's best films. Moonlight tells the story, over three chapters, of Chiron. We see him first as a young black kid who is befriended by Juan, the drug dealer with a heart of gold who also, sadly, happens to be where Chiron's mother gets her crack from. Little Chiron is often bullied by his peers, and is generally an unhappy soul. Part two focuses on Chiron as a teenager, his mother still addicted to crack, the bullies still after him, but this time he is befriended by Kevin, who shows him attention and with whom he shares an intimate moment.

By far the most powerful and moving portion of Moonlight is its third chapter, where we encounter Chiron as a young man. Now wearing a set of gold teeth coverings and following in Juan's footsteps as a gun-toting drug dealer, Chiron receives a call from Kevin, who is now living out of town and working as a cook in a diner. It's a phone call filled with hopeful tension, as Kevin says how he was thinking of Chiron, and invites him to come see him. "I'll cook something for you," he says, in a matter-of-fact but loving manner.

And so, Chiron travels to see Kevin, unannounced, and Kevin cooks for him and they share some wine and reminisce and then embrace warmly. It is quite touching, and also very Hollywood for such an indie film. Real life doesn't often work out like that, unfortunately.

I couldn't help but think of Kyle while watching the movie, especially toward the end. Mentioned on this blog more than once, Kyle was the person whom I first fell in love with (or at least developed strong feelings for), and when our friendship came crashing down (due to me not being able to handle him having a girlfriend), it was then that I finally realized and accepted my sexuality.

About five years after high school, I somehow found a way to contact Kyle. Nervously, I called and asked him how things were going (to which he didn't offer much of a reply), and then I asked if he'd like to hang out again sometime. Kyle said no, and not just no, but he did so with such contempt and cruelty in his voice that it made me feel almost less than human. Then he hung up.

As I watched the sweet reunion between Chiron and Kevin unfold on the screen, a deep sense of bitterness slowly but surely developed within me. 'Real life doesn't happen like this,' I thought. At least, not for me. After putting voice to this anger, a good friend reminded me that movies are fiction, and so they can sometimes help provide us with a reality that may have been lacking. That was a good, sobering moment, and helped alleviate the anguish and allowed me to better appreciate what Moonlight had to offer.

It's a really good film. You should definitely see it.


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