The Light of the Moon

Film Premiere in NYC at the IFC Center plus Post Screening Q&A

Films are able to bring to light stories we may otherwise not be familiar with and through that offer a different perspective of the world. Although we may not be able to immediately relate to what we are seeing it allows us to expand our way of thinking and look at the world that surrounds us a bit differently. It is easy to be concerned with one’s own issues and dilemmas while turning away from problems that do not concern us. Recently issues regarding women being sexually assaulted or harassed have been increasing; which in itself is a horrible act but at the same time, it brings the issue to light. Acts like these are not just common in our area as abuse against women is widespread across the globe.

Groups such as Safe Horizons and UN Women offer insight and aid to women everywhere. Through their efforts and numerous other groups they hope to end cruelty against women of all ages around the world. Film and television offer the ability to reach a wider audience. Although the issues depicted may make us feel uneased, they represent situations that are taking place all around us. It is through these moments that these righteous causes gain more attention and hopefully receive more help. The film The Light of the Moon was made based on the fact that films like these are rarely made. It was through the support of a friend that actress Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) decided to take on the role of Bonnie.

Written, produced, directed and edited by first time feature filmmaker Jessica M. Thompson, she takes a violent act such as rape and is able to offer the viewer a different point of view. Jessica brings us intimately in to the lives of Bonnie and her boyfriend Matt, played by Michael Stahl-David (Narcos, Cloverfield). As the viewer we feel the angst, anxiety, uneasiness, guilt, shame and a whole different range of emotions as Bonnie struggles to overcome what happened to her. The act itself does not overshadow the film as Bonnie is its shining light. Bonnie is played effortlessly by Stephanie and that goes for the entire cast as they all seem so natural in their roles that it feels you could be watching a documentary. It is a compliment to Jessica’s ability as a filmmaker especially when wearing so many hats that she was able to make the film she did. The cast even admits being able to fall into the roles so easily especially when they’re allowed to adlib scenes.

Jessica’s sense of storytelling as well as the visceral performances from both Stephanie and Michael bring a film that impacts us not only emotionally but also mentally. The painful struggle that Bonnie must make her way through and continue on is one that is all too real. The film’s power lies in its ability to make us forget we are watching a film. Scenes that take place at the hospital and police station may seem unordinary but we realize that they are not. How the story unfolds can be seen as true to life and it is those raw feelings that will linger long after the film ends. The chemistry between Stephanie and Michael is undeniable which only strengthens the portrayals of Bonnie and Matt. Their scenes as a couple trying to gain some type of normalcy feel so organic that along with Bonnie’s journey are heart wrenching to watch,  

The film’s ability to engage these emotions in a viewer is why I believe UN Women have accepted it as a film that portrays a vital message about these heinous acts on women. The story does not revolve around the act itself, the judicial process or capturing the assailant but rather the woman. The process Bonnie goes through mentally, physically and emotionally are ones that we may not be familiar with ever in our lifetime. Through the hard work put in to making this film a new light can be shed on these important issues. Film may have been created as a form of entertainment but its ability to convey such an important message across the globe serves such a greater purpose.

Rating 4 out of 5

Film Releases in Selected Theaters: NYC Wednesday 11/1/17 // LA Thursday 11/16/17 // Seattle Friday 11/24 // Houston Saturday 11/25

More info on the film can be found at: https://www.thelightofthemoonfilm.com/

More info concerning Violence Against Women:

http://www.unwomen.org/en   &   https://www.safehorizon.org/

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