This Isn't Your Typical Coming-of-Age Film

What you need to know about queer love and loss in the breathtaking "Moonlight."

Most Popular

Chiron looks out of his high school windows, trying to avoid his merciless classmates after school.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

30-Second Synopsis: A black, queer boy named Chiron grows up in rough parts of Miami with a lot stacked against him. His daily obstacles include a drug-addicted mother, cruel and relentless school bullies, and a complicated relationship with his peer, Kevin. The film is divided into three parts, providing a deep, nuanced look at Chiron's inner life as he grows from a child to a teen to an adult.

The trailer is a tender, moving short film in and of itself.

Most Popular

Most Powerful Symbol: Water is repeatedly referenced, as Chiron learns to swim and has beachside chats with Kevin. Water keeps Chiron afloat, and constantly threatens to drown him.

Realest Line: "I cry so much, sometimes I feel I'm gonna turn into drops," the teenage Chiron says on a beach at night.

A stunning view of Miami. The city is a scenic backdrop to this boy's tale.
A stunning view of Miami. The city is a scenic backdrop to this boy's tale.

The Best Date-Night Spot: One of the movie's most pivotal and subtly but intensely romantic scenes, between Chorin and Kevin, takes place in a diner. Diners have all the elements of a perfectly imperfect night: pancakes, jukeboxes, and questionable cleanliness.

Now adults, Chiron (right) and Kevin (left) face some unspoken tension.

Number of Times I Got Choked Up: 4.

Song You Should Queue Up on Spotify: The film's soundtrack is its own form of vivid storytelling, weaving in and out of crucial scenes. "One Step" by Aretha Franklin plays twice, once during a scene of a mother's rejection of her child and again when Chiron sees Kevin for the first time in a decade. The music becomes just as much a narrative tool as the writing.

Go See It If: You're looking for an extraordinary coming-of-age story told through complex human relationships and exquisite music, and you want to see a new approach to the messy nature of first love.

Moonlight opens Friday, October 21. See more about the film on

More from sweet: