Toria Sheffield
Updated Jan 09, 2017 @ 7:23 am
Credit: Kevork Djansezian/NBC/Getty Images

If you watched the most buzz-worthy films this year, then you probably weren’t too surprised when Moonlight won the Golden Globe for best drama. The quietly beautiful movie follows the coming-of-age of Chiron, a young African-American man, as he comes to terms with his masculinity and sexuality.

The movie takes place in three stages — when Chiron is a boy, a teen, and finally, a young man — and the character was magnificently portrayed by three different actors: Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes. The movie was directed by Barry Jenkins and is based on the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney (and is strongly based on McCraney’s own memories as a queer youth in Miami’s poor Liberty City neighborhood).

Credit: A24

Moonlight isn’t a movie full of huge, melodramatic screaming matches or edge-of-your-seat thrills, but instead is a film composed of many small, subtle, and often, heartbreakingly real moments in the life of a boy trying to understand who he is and how he fits in. It’s a movie that sticks with you long after you leave the theater, and Chiron — even though he’s the quietest of wallflowers — is a character you won’t easily forget.

We’d also be completely remiss if we didn’t mention just how important a film like Moonlight is in a movie-making landscape that is so often homogenous and white washed. We so rarely see stories of three-dimensional people of color on our screens (not to mention, people of color portrayed on our screens period), and it’s even rarer that a movie highlights the struggles of gay black men.

Credit: A24

So in addition to just being a great movie, Moonlight is also a terribly important one. We hope its success reminds Hollywood that these are stories people desperately need and want to see, and that it inspires so many more like it in the coming years.