Issues Covered in Moonlight: Community Pressures and Expectations

The minute you are born, society has expectations about who you are. The way you look, sets the expectation for you. Everyone is different in their own way, so people judge you to be yourself when you step out of those standards. People should accept each other more instead of placing pressure on others. Throughout the movie “Moonlight” by Barry Jenkins, he suggests if you are constantly judged in your community because of your sexuality then you’ll suppress your true self. However, if someone comes and guides you and shows you acceptance for who you are then ultimately this comes to self-realization.

In the first act Little, didn’t have a sense of belonging during his childhood. He doesn’t know why he’s struggling, and why the children in his community keep pick at him. In the entire act we see Little struggle with bullying, neglect, and emotional abuse. The experiences Little deals with during his childhood affects him growing up by trying to fit in. Little gets chased by his bully’s into a crackhouse. Showing us that little feels more safe in a crack house then in his community like its a safe home, he's isolated by society. But then we meet Juan, “ can’t be no worse out her”, he breaks into the crack house ( littles world). Telling him that the community is not so bad then he thinks, that way better than being alone. The car ride with Juan and little had classical music playing in the background symbolizing peacing Little is having showing self expression. Little sees Juan as a father figure since he never had one to look up to, and once Paul turns to drugs. Little is forced to look at Teressa and Juan for stability that he needs. When Paul yells at Little see Paul go mute, but classical music playing in the background. This is Little disconnecting from external reality and trying to be in his own safe place. When Little ask Juan “am i faggot” and Juan says “ you could be gay but you ain’t gonna let anyone call you a faggot”. Were surprised we think that Juan is going to say something offence but he doesn’t this show that no matter what Little is going through or is. Teressa and Juan will be accepting of who Little is, this first people that show Little acceptance for who is. “At some point, you gotta decide for yourself who you're trying to be”. Does Little choose to be himself or does he let the community choose for him?

In the second act Chiron he feels isolated from his community, and everyone knows his sexuality and there not accepted of it. Chiron is get bullied by Terral a classmate of his. Terral is the stereotype of an African American man, something that Chiron is dealing with be himself or fall into the stereotype that society has laid on him. Chirion struggles to reach out for help from his trouble home because it makes him look weak. Teressa teach the basic hygiene to Chirion, how to make a bed, fed him, and lets sleep over. After this when Chirion kick out again we see him sleep on the train. Showing us that he doesn’t want to look weak in front of his community. When he experiences his first sexual experience with Kevin.“You caught that same breeze you come to the hood like everything stops for a second, everyone just wants to feel,” Kevin says to Chiron. We hear the breeze when Chiron has his first sexual experiences to symbolize peace with his inner self. But when Kevin gets pressured to fight Chiron, the community is telling him his not welcoming. This shows to Chiron that the people you love (Kevin) will betray you for themselves. When Kevin beats Chiron the background music goes silent representing the death of Chiron.

In the third act Black, the character is completely different he's suppressed himself to feel belonging in his community and not judge for who he is. When we see Black he looks completely different, it looks like Juan reincarnated. Since Chiron didn’t have a father figure and a black man to look up to, to see what a “black man” is supposed to be like. He was battling with toxic masculinity to either be who wants to be or the stereotype of what a black man. Which showing no emotions, being tough/hard, muscular, the typical stereotype of a African American. When Kevin and Black reunited. He saw Black with fake gold grills “take those damn grills out, that’s not who are”. Kevin can see past his Blacks fake persona. At the end of the film when Black finally opens up and is vunberal about his true self to Kevin. Kevin holds him, and then there's a snapshot of Little at the beach face the ocean turning to us. Jenkins seems to assume that even the toughest or 'hardest' person is a little boy in the instead. The toxic masculinity breaks down to reveal within a man there's a boy.

Chiron is pressured in the film Moonlight to either adhere to society and be someone he is not and his desires. We all enjoy being accepted for who we are, but we're going to change ourselves to get other's approval to be accepted by society. We all want to belong, but it can be harmful feeling belonged comes from us, we have to accept and even love if we want to feel belong.  

07 July 2022
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