As the sound of the wave rolls in, there is the strange silence engulfing the hearts in front of the screen, and your mind is strapped to the film, there are colours that stand out in this film, the Blue of various gradation with the emotions reflected in all of that different blue. There is also the shadow and the orange and the neon lights and the unbelievably bright houses and the walls painted, everywhere, it seems to be a world dominated by colours. And this becomes a definite contrast to the skin colour, which will be to portray the division between the black community in the states. There, the boy runs, he swims, he feels, he grows stronger, and but somewhat a little more vulnerable than before.
There is something unbelievably vulnerable about all of him, the strange sense of his fragileness but there, lies the strong “something” which is hard to touch and tell. He is strong in a way I think, but at the same time, so breakable that it hurts me so to look at him.
The film is divided into three parts, beginning with i. little, ii. Chiron, and finally iii. Black. There is the black community, there is the drugs and an addict mother and the constant cycle of such lives, there are no dramas, nor there is salvation. This story, it just goes on, Chiron being three different persons in three different phase, and in-between, there are the time we cannot physically see, but strongly present, the blank space which seems to tell much more story even with its emptiness. The constant feeling of being lost, of not being able to really know how he himself is feeling or wanting, it hurts us, the watchers, as much as it hurts him. This is not a happy success story, it is raw to its bones and hurts so much, but that may be why the lights and the shot, circling around the faces of those who surrounds him does not seem cliché and fake, but even more close to realness, portrayed in another way.
It is about reading between the lines, of the parts that are not shown, to imagine and feel the lost years in between his life, and you would start to see, the way he has changed and have not changed, and this film captures all that with such beauty, with no effort but with the sound of the wave and the infinite blue that will keep embracing him. There is no right and wrong here, just the complication of society that has twisted a man’s life, and that’s not to be taken lightly, it has kept him trapped, when the ocean is supposed to be wide and open, never ending possibilities with the freedom to be who you really are.
When he is Little, the father figure, the neighbour drug dealer tells him, him so little and him so big, that contrast but the words blurted out is as if he is reminding himself of it;
“At some point, you gotta decide for yourself who you’re going to be. Can’t let nobody make that decision for you.”
That’s everything about this film.
Director Barry Jenkins
Screenwriter Barry Jenkins (screenplay), Tarell Alvin McCraney (story)
Cast Mahershala Ali, Alex R. Hibbert, Janelle Monáe, Naomie Harris, Jaden Piner
Year 2016 Runtime 111 min