Synopsis: A coming-of-age drama set in Miami Florida, the movie follows the three stages of Chiron's troubled life, from childhood to his young adult years. He was traumatized from being raised by his drug-addicted mother and bullied for years by schoolmates who believe he's gay. His only sense of family is through Juan, the local drug dealer from Cuba and his girlfriend Teresa, who serve as Chiron's mentors. He also develops a love interest in Kevin from school.
Warning: Spoilers in Presentation
Welcome to "Conscious Movie Reviews." I'm your host Joy Davis and here to review the drama, "Moonlight." Set in Miami, Florida, it follows the main character, Chiron, go through three stages of his life under different nicknames. Even though his sexual orientation is not clear because the writer of this semi-autobiographical film doesn't want us to assume that Chiron is homosexual. It seemed secondary to what's most important for him - being an emotionally-responsible steward of his heart.
A frequent target of school bullies, Chiron managed to get away from being chased by them. He escaped into an abandoned crackhouse as they banged hard on the door, leaving Chiron crying from the noise.
When Juan, a Cuban drug dealer, showed up, Chiron was fearful and guarded. As a friendly gesture, he was invited to get a bite to eat with him, but kept quietly to himself the whole time.
It wasn't until he was warmly welcomed by Juan and his girlfriend Teresa into their home that Chiron felt safe enough to only say that his nickname was "Little." They let him stay overnight because he resisted returning to his
troubled home life. His mother was terribly upset with his disappearance and getting dropped off by a stranger.
Chiron was born as an HSP that stands for Highly Sensitive Person. Many are like him - loners who are easily overwhelmed and bothered by loud, annoying noises. HSPs are gifted to be highly intuitive - more aware of subtleties. They can experience their emotions in a vivid, practically palpable way that gives them a rich and complex inner life. Many write them off as just shy, inhibited types.
When Little left a soccer game behind, his friend Kevin bothered to ask why he let boys pick on him. They playfully fought so that Little can get some hard jabs in. It was Kevin's way of knowing that he wasn't "soft."
Even though it was just for fun between them, Little was being encouraged to fortify his physical and emotional defenses. He lacked inner strength. His mother, Paula, offered him no protection against any threats, like bullies at school or from her toxic parenting. He just had to fend for himself as she was emotionally unavailable to her son from using crack.
Spending more time together, Juan showed Little how to swim at the beach. He cradled his body in the water, guiding him to float on his own.
Little was like a disembodied spirit floating above his body, not truly connected to his emotions from being abused. In the water, Juan bathed him with nurturance and compassion to provide safe passage for Little's re-entrance back into his body to feel his emotions again in an intimate and grounding way - a kind of rebirth.
While sitting quietly together, Juan told him about his distant past as a boy in Cuba who ran around with no shoes on. An old lady stopped him to point out that when the moon was out, black boys look blue.
"That's what I'll call you...Blue. At some point, you gotta decide who you gonna be," he offered as wise counsel.
Black boys that look blue in the moonlight can refer to how they are unique and special. It was a message for Little to be his authentic self. As we get clear about our life purpose, there's an inner calling for all of us to become even more of our true self.
In a nasty confrontation, Juan pulled Paula out of a car, upset after seeing her smoking crack with one of his customers, so she retaliated by letting him know that he's the supplier. And in a matter-of-factly way, Paula told him why her son gets beaten up by other kids. It's because he's gay if he didn't notice by the "way he walks."
At home, Little was screamed at by his mother, while he just stared blankly. It was his way of shutting down for protection as she would shatter his dignity and self-identity with each abuse.
Retreating to Juan's home, Little admitted to him that he hates his mother. Juan understood to say, "I hated my Mom too. I miss her like hell now."
Drawn to each other as gentle souls, they also resonated with each other's goodness.
When Little asked what a faggot is, Juan was blunt with him to explain that it's a word to make gay people feel bad. Little wondered if he was that, only to be assured that he would know in time, in a natural way, just not right now.
But when Juan was asked if he sold drugs, he told the truth and hung his head low in shame to realize the gravity of it all.
For our spiritual maturity, we must be mindful and totally responsible for ALL of our thoughts, actions and deeds. Ignorance of the Law of Karma is no excuse. Juan was shown directly, in a brutally honest way, how his actions, through cause and effect, were destroying Little.
As a teenager, Chiron was still subject to repeat bullying by his peers. The joke was cruelly on him when Terrel told the class that he needed a tampon for his women's problem.
Coming out of detention, Kevin approached Chiron. He openly bragged about his sexual prowess, going on about banging a girl. And at home, Paula forced Chiron to leave so she can prostitute herself for drug money.
When he stayed overnight with Teresa, who was now all alone after Juan passed away, she taught him how to make his bed. He dreamt that evening of Kevin screwing a girl in Teresa' backyard.
Everyone and everything within a dream is you and about you, teaches Michael Sheridan, an internationally renowned dream interpreter. It also gives focus to what needs to be addressed in your life. For Chiron, he was more the observer than the participant in the dream. Watching Kevin having sex with a girl revealed a tension from his own inner belief of "I have to compete with women to get him."
At the beach, Kevin found Chiron all alone, under the moonlight. They lazily talked a while and smoked pot together. Kevin decided to nickname him "Black," then recalled from his past, how good a breeze felt.
"It's like everyone gets quiet. Makes you want to cry because it feels so good," he explained.
When Kevin asked what he cries about, Chiron told him that "I cry so much sometimes, I could turn into drops."
They kissed as Kevin reached under Chiron's pants, masturbating him to ejaculate.
Their encounter was not only sexually charged, but also served as a thoughtful and necessary emotional release. Kevin was naturally attuned to Chiron on a heart level. Through his nurturing presence, he provided the safety needed for Chiron to free up his hard emotions and stay soft inside, even if it was just for a moment.
Terrel escalated the bullying towards Chiron by bringing back a hazing ritual from their childhood called "Knock Down, Stay Down." He forced Kevin to do the fighting for him. On the school grounds, Chiron just took the hard blows with no resistance.
When asked by a woman from social services if he'd like to press charges on his attackers, he just cried in response.
Chiron's choice to emotionally shut down was a means to create more drama and pain to feel alive. This is according to Chuck Spezzano, creator of the Psychology of Vision. He teaches that people who have not been able to feel, often go to greater and greater lengths to feel something, sometimes even to the extent of creating violence, like taking punches to the head from being numb inside. Our willingness to feel, to open ourselves up, brings us back to feeling alive without having to create drama, negativity or pain.
Out of revenge, Chiron stormed into the classroom to smash a chair against Terrel. The police arrived to take him away as Kevin watched helplessly.
As an adult, Chiron took on the nickname of "Black" and became a drug dealer in Atlanta, Georgia. It was the only way of life he knew.
Black was imprinted since childhood to be like Juan, his surrogate father, and mother, as imprinting of our core beliefs with primal feelings attached, can start early, from the womb to formative years.
Historically, the Iroquois tribe of early America regarded homosexuals in their society as a third gender to be carefully observed, starting in childhood, to determine their unique role. Instead of being ostracized, they were carefully groomed to be spiritual leaders, counselors and guides because they were believed to be especially touched by the Creator and closer to the Earthly Mother and Heavenly Father than most humans. This was according to Jim Pathfinder Ewing, a teacher of Native American shamanism.
Two calls came in, one from Black's mother, requesting that he visit her, and another from Kevin. It was an invitation for a private reunion in Miami. Kevin offered to cook him a meal at the diner where he worked and to apologize for what happened years ago in high school.
When Black met with his mother at the drug treatment facility, Paula was sincere about healing their relationship, but was nervous about it. She admitted to being a bad mother who wasn't there for him. He finally forgave her with a hug before leaving.
True forgiveness as taught by Connie Domino, a self-help author, is done holistically. It's to forgive others; others to forgive you; and you to forgive yourself. By doing this, you can free up your emotional energies to manifest great abundance, like more blessings in your life.
At the diner, Kevin was happy to see Chiron again. He prepared for him the "Chef's Special" and played from the jukebox, "Hello Stranger" by Barbara Lewis. In between waiting on customers, Kevin spoke about how content he was with his life as the father of Kevin Jr. and doing work as a cook, which he's good at.
When Kevin learned about Chiron's profession as a drug dealer, he could not believe it. This hyper-masculine version was not, to him, who he really is inside.
Chiron was, at first, hesitant to both speak and accept any wine. This reminded Kevin of Chiron's childish ways, asking him to drop that behavior. In their eyes, there was still an attraction between them.
Kevin was by nature, a nurturer. He nurtured in an intimate way with his warm presence, making good meals, and being a loving father. It was this honest quality that Chiron was drawn to, like a balm for his heart that had been hardened and dulled from years of self-abuse.
After closing the restaurant, Kevin got a ride home. Chiron was invited to stay the night. They talked a while at his apartment - about each other's choices in life with some regrets. Chiron felt safe enough to admit that "you're the only man who has ever touched me. The only one. I haven't touched anyone, since." By saying this, he gave his tender heart permission to be vulnerable.
They faced each other quietly for Kevin to support Chiron's head on his shoulder. He reflected back to being at the ocean again as a boy looking blue under the moonlight.