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Heartwarming / Moonlight (2016)

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Despite this film's bleak subject matter, it has several moments that qualify as outright heartwarming.

  • Juan's mentorship to Chiron, particularly given his lack of friends. Juan takes Chiron, some random kid he meets, under his wing, purely out of the goodness of his heart. It's safe to say that if it weren't for Juan, Chiron's already-messy childhood would've been much worse.
  • Similarly, Teresa's support of him after Juan's death.
    You know my rule. It's all love and all pride in this house.
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  • The ocean scene.
    Juan: I've been here a long time. I'm from Cuba. A lot of black folks in Cuba. You wouldn't know from being here now. I was a wild little shortie, man. Just like you. Running around with no shoes on, the moon was out. This one time, I run by this old... this old lady. I was running, hollerin'. Cuttin' a fool, boy. This old lady, she stopped me. She said, "Running around, catching a lot of light. In moonlight, black boys look blue. You're blue. That's what I'm gonna call you: 'Blue.'"
    Little: Is your name Blue?
    Juan: [laughs] Nah. [pause] At some point, you gotta decide for yourself who you're going to be. Can't let nobody make that decision for you.
  • Chiron asks Juan what "faggot" means. Juan and Teresa's response is pure heartwarming. He tells him that it's just a slur that bigots use against gay people, and whether Chiron is gay or not, he shouldn't let anyone use it against him. He and Teresa assure Chiron that he'll figure out if he's gay eventually, and if he is, that's fine.
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  • Chiron reconciling with his sincerely repentant mother and especially Kevin in the third act.
  • A small moment in Paula's first scene that shows that she's at least capable of being a good parent: she punishes Chiron by taking away his TV privileges but encourages him to instead go find a book to read. The implication is that she knows just making a child miserable won't benefit him as much as making him substitute one form of entertainment for a more challenging one would.
  • On a meta level, the film's Best Picture victory at the Academy Awards served as an enormously validating moment for Black and queer people, given the cultural cachet of the awards and the milestones it represented for them. Some commentators have argued that Moonlight's Best Picture win and subsequent commercial success ultimately serve as a validation of its themes as well.
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  • Also on a meta level, Moonlight is actually one of the few great American romantic dramas to have an unambiguously happy ending that averts, in this case, Did Not Get the Guy. While romantic comedies frequently feature such endings, as mentioned on the main page, there aren't too many serious romantic dramas that end this way.

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