Let me just give you my opinion. I won't try to force my truth on you, but I would just like you to pay attention and take it into consideration. In all of my studies as an actor - which let's be honest aren't as far and wide as they could be - I have focused on the most popular and wide known display of theatre, and film. In film specifically, the only movies I can recall that are black centered and focus on a bit of truth are from the great black film makers like Spike Lee and others who create these beautiful films for and by the black public. Don't get me wrong, "Straight Out of Compton", "Do the Right Thing", "Shaft," and other great movies were EPIC, legendary in their acting, in the script and felt so close to my heart and home that I sincerely believe they should have received just as much recognition.
What I think is interesting about Moonlight is the story and the lens it's told through is so different that it touched me in such a different and impactful way. The components of the film left me breathless. The imagery that we see, the cinematography, the way the camera follows and interacts with each of the characters is breathless in it's execution and almost revolutionary. But the story. Too often then not I feel like the black community tries to hide certain aspects of the reality of life that it creates a fog for those who are different within the community. To have a story about a gay black male living in the hood, is so delicate that the way it's portrayed is integral to the way it is received. The movie was filled with such hardness in the characters, the environment that it provided a juxtaposition of how life really is for how these people really are. The characters became more than 2 dimensional, they became utterly human with all of the little micro-expressions and details that showed us their truth. It's different because it's not just hard and black, but it's gay and incredibly soft. The casting in the characters, the way the movie shoots, I don't feel like I'm in a black community watching black men hurt each other and portray their manliness for the sake of other people or what society purposes them for. I see the deepest cuts of the soul bleeding out and crying for help in each of these characters as they try to put out an image the world forced upon them.
That, is what makes this movie special. It speaks about the very delicate and uncomfortable realities of a human being. In such a loving and gentle way while still being truthful to the hard inconsiderate ways of living in their world.
There are a lot people I've talked to who just don't get it. We live in a day and age of frustration where everyone thinks their own opinion is right but no one wants to listen to another persons truth. Makes for a great election (extreme sarcasm). What the cast of "Moonlight," Barry Jenkins, and the cinematographer, has done is provided a way for the truth to be nothing but the truth. This is how I believe we can reach across the table to a hand that doesn't want to return the gesture. This is how I believe you change the minds of millions.