Whether you’re a cinephile or not, it’s impossible to escape the raves of news surrounding sexual assault in Hollywood. We’ve all heard the horrifying details surrounding Harvey Weinstein, not to mention James Toback and Kevin Spacey, among others (plus, you know, the current President, as well as Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama), and it’s both shocking and upsetting in equal measure. At the same time as all of this has been coming out, a small film has been in theaters tackling the same subject matter. It’s called The Light of the Moon and inadvertently has become the most timely movie of 2017 right now. A quality picture, it could help shine a light on just what the numerous victims of these monsters are going through.
The film is a drama looking at how sexual assault and rape culture can impact a life. I’ll let the Rotten Tomatoes plot summary set the stage: “Bonnie, a young and successful Latina architect, is sexually assaulted while walking home from an evening out with friends in Brooklyn. At first, she attempts to keep the assault a secret from her long-term boyfriend Matt, but the truth quickly emerges. Bonnie emphatically denies the impact of what has just happened to her. She fights to regain normalcy and control of her life, but returning to her old life is more complicated than expected. Her attempt to recapture the intimacy she previously had with Matt falters and cracks begin to surface in their relationship. Another attack in the neighborhood only drives Bonnie further into denial, before an encounter with an at-risk woman causes her to face the truth and confront her own self-blame.” Jessica M. Thompson writes and directs, with Stephanie Beatriz playing Bonnie and Michael Stahl-David as Matt.
Though under the radar, this movie is pretty solid. Beatriz is terrific in portraying a complex protagonist, with Thompson’s filmmaking really keeping your attention throughout. The film makes its mark on your regardless of the real world seeping in, but that latter element only elevates things. When you think about The Light of the Moon, the odds are you’ll also think about what’s going on down in Alabama or over in Hollywood. That’s simply how it is. Luckily, the motion picture is more than good enough to stand on its own. We just have life pushing it into the zeitgeist as well.
It’s likely too small of a flick to make a dent with Oscar, but The Light of the Moon just might show up during a precursor or two. If so, it will probably be for Beatriz in Best Actress or Breakthrough Actress. More importantly though, it will conceivably get more people talking about the victims of assault, and that’s what matters. In a roundabout way, this movie has the potential to be a PSA of sorts. If nothing else, the option to find it in cinemas presents itself as a public service. That’s a bigger deal than a nomination or two, that’s for sure.
The Light of the Moon deserves to be seen. The film is already out and making its mark on audience members, but it should be continuing to expand and find new people as the days pass by. If you’re horrified by what’s going on in the world and seek to understand the victims and their plight, this can help. In that way, it’s a PSA, as previously mentioned. It might be an upsetting viewing experience, but it’s the sort of experience that you should have as a moviegoer. Look for it and take it in if at all possible. It’s worth it folks…
Be sure to check out The Light of the Moon, in theaters right now!