Moonlight by Barry Jenkins is a compelling and emotional roller coaster from beginning to end. In the opening shot of the film, the audience sees Juan, a drug dealer to the mother of main character Little approach another drug dealer. In this scene the audience is exposed to the environment, a poor neighborhood where drug dealing is very common. The interaction between Juan and the drug dealer working for him involves slang, cursing, and the ‘n’ word which portrays the message of having to mask your true emotions to obtain respect. This message is further shown once the main character Little is seen being bullied for being an outcast. The scene shows Little as a vulnerable kid not comfortable in his environment, as he is seen crying and hiding in one of Juan’s drug houses. Juan and Little meet and Juan portrays the father archetype of Little’s childhood as Juan takes him out to eat, teaches him how to swim, and allows him to stay in his home. The audience notices through Juan and Little’s relationship, that Juan isn’t a bad man. Juan has emotions just like Little, and this allows for the audience to develop a deeper connection with Juan and Little. The film progresses and stage two is presented. Little now goes by the name Chiron and is seen as a teenager in High School. The way Chiron carries himself in terms of body posture, facial expressions and speech is a continuation of his discomfort in his environment. We see that he is not physically and emotionally safe in his house or school as his mother poses a threat to him in his home, and the bullies pose a threat to him in his school. In this stage, there is a pivotal moment set in the scene where Chiron is with Kevin on the beach. The beach is a symbol of freedom for Chiron, since the beach is a place of comfort and happiness. This sets the interaction between Chiron and Kevin where they both let down their barriers and open up to each other about their emotions. This leads to an intimate moment, which is a complete liberation for Chiron as he doesn’t have to hide his emotions. Jenkins’ message of masking your emotions is challenged through the portrayals of Chiron’s and Juan’s characters.
BEEP BEEP BEEP. The alarm goes off, on a partly cloudy day in Michigan. They grumble in the process of getting out of bed. That’s Kiki and Corey you’re hearing.
We can see this story unfold from both sides. Kiki is the bright, interactive older sister, and Corey is the rather reserved, quiet but still worthy, younger brother. Their family is well known around the community, and their mother and father live a higher-class life than most, especially for these blacks. Everything seems peachy keen, right? Wrong. Why? There’s only one problem. Corey is depressed. And you, you would think someone like Corey would be happy, on the road to victory, onward to become the male version of his sister, with good grades and all. But the real truth is, Corey’s been depressed since the start of high school. His best friend from the past, Sampson, had died in a terrible bike accident about three years ago, right before they were both graduating from Junior High, and since that tragedy, Corey has never been the same. Sure, currently he gets the good grades, acts like everything is ok, masking his feelings and learning to adjust to having to mask them consistently on a daily basis. But it’s been so long, and he’s done keeping everything bottled up inside. He’s planned to see Sampson again.
“We’re going to be late!” I hear my sister’s voice.
She’s always on my tail but I know it’s only for my benefit. Sometimes I’m just like, “who cares? I’ll tell her I’m sick” so I can stay in bed. Other times, I get the strength to get out of bed and find some clothes to wear. And it’s not like I have this weird sense of style, either. I can throw something on and have someone tell me that I look handsome. Isn’t that something, ha. I mean, today is definitely not my day, and if it gets any worse, I feel that today is going to end up being the day. The last day, if you know what I mean. I never felt like that day would come, as I’ve said the same thing for numerous amounts of bad days. So in other words, when I say “this is the day, the last day” I really mean “it’s the day to die”. I hope I dumbed it down well enough for you. And if you can hear it in my sarcasm, yeah. Im pissed off, too. I don’t like school anymore, all these early bird wake-ups five days a week. We don’t go to private school —we’re not that rich where we actually get to sleep away and get special books and crap — but at the least we get the right education. n the past, my fears were, that if I stepped out the door, I’d never return through it. SO I would excuse myself to stay home to keep myself from ending it. But today, I don’t care. Kill me, world. Kill me. Once I leave for class today, I’m not coming back. Not coming back to school, to home, to life. Do I care what Mom thinks? No. Do I care what Dad thinks? Eh..it’s complicated.What could I possibly do to change how I’m feeling? Nothing. Do I need some help? Before it’s too late? Probably, but it’s probably too late. Despite being successful, he didn’t feel like a father. He felt more like an uncle, or a cousin. We never had that real dad-son bond, hence the actual bonding. He loves me, sure, but again. Like I said, I have the right to say “complicated.” My lack of a relationship might just be my fault, but I don’t want to get into that now. This is about the story of my death. Not the story “My Father and Me”. I mean, what else is there for me? What else is there to do? All it is for me — heck, for all of us, you could say — is wake up, eat, go to school, go home, sleep, repeat. It’s just a casual routine that I feel like I’m forced to abide by, with no direct option to leave such a life of mine behind. And I know I could go into further detail on my day, like what I had for lunch or what clothes I wore that day, but as usual, I choose not to. There isn’t much to my life as is, anyway. But heed my warning if you choose to read on: my death ends up being pretty instantaneous, so be prepared for a short day and a somewhat short story.
A perk of school-and probably the only one-is the car ride. My sister can drive, yes, and she takes us to school, acting like parent #3. I never really wanted kids, but since she never really had a boyfriend I don’t see that whole reality of parenthood really happening in the future. If anything, you could say that was absolutely a joke. So I’m there. We only have seven periods, 1 hr. 15 minutes of my life, every day. Then we leave. Then we sleep. Then we repeat. With seniors, they have more free time than average because most of them have finished up with mandatory classes. That being said, Kiki drops me off at the main entrance and drives away to the secondary school entrance with her friends to do annoying girl stuff for about two hours. She doesn’t have a first period, so getting to school on time doesn’t really matter. It’s the opportunity to see lovely buddies that keeps her coming early. Beats being late for 2nd period by coming on the dot (right when it’s 8:59) too, I guess.
I have Psychology at 8am, which is actually the best class of the day (I have a 4-class schedule). My best friend Jina is in this class with me. She was my second best friend in the whole world, besides Sampson before…We weren’t a trio, because it was actually her that approached me. “Can you help me with this formula?” she asked me in Trigonometry, 4th period. I would be telling her which equation goes where, how to formulate the answer and the steps if we had to create problems. I don’t get bad grades, you know. I’m a smart cookie. We bonded pretty quickly, and she liked my style (physically, clothing wise and personality wise, thank you). In the past when it was the three of us, I’d hang out with Sampson most of the time, and Jina would be using up my time not spent with Sampson. Nothing wrong with that, right? From the slang I hear these days, I WOULD consider what I’m doing as “bros before hoes”, but that’s disrespectful. Jina was never a hoe to me. Not a slut. Not the object you use to dig in the ground. She was a girl. A girl I really liked. I was onto her the week after we met, and instead of looking like a total jackass and moving too fast, I took the scenic route; I took the “get to know this girl or you’re never getting any” route. After all, most smart girls in good schools won’t date, screw, or even look at a total asshole. And trust me, you’ll know exactly why she’s so important in my suicide story much later. FYI, it’s not because she’s practically my only real friend right now, because I could probably make just about any kind of person a friend of mine. Even another girl. Problem is, she was the only girl I wanted right now.
So we discuss 1st period and 4th period and I decide to tell her how I really feel after school. I have it all planned out: I ask Kiki if I can borrow the car (we need the privacy). She says yes, she takes the bus or something. She could be running home for all I care. I drive Jina to her place, and we make small talk. I lead the conversation into my confession before I ask if she wanted to go out with me. I get a yes, I’m good to go- at least for now, and all is resolved. If not, then it’ll probably be curtains for me, depending on how hard the heartbreak becomes. But we don’t know much it will until we try, right? But before we get on to that, I just say:
“Doing anything after school? Need any homework help, Jiji?”
“You know I get antsy when I get called that, cuckoo clock. Just cause your sister is Kiki. Not funny, smh.” I just hope I didn’t agitate her after that.”But no, I’m not. You?
“Home. I have a bunch of work. Might shoot some hoops afterward.”
It’s been stressful in Psychology, eh?” Wanted to mention a class she didn’t hate.
“I suppose. I’m good in grades with everything except damn trig.”
“The lecture was pretty informative.”
“And the mini-quiz was easy, too.”
(THESE RECOLLECTIONS AND QUOTING OF WHAT WAS DONE IN PSYCHOLOGY ARE ACTUALLY TRUE RECOUNTS OF WHAT I DID, AS THE AUTHOR, IN CRITICAL THINKING CLASS. WE ACTUALLY HAD A GOOD LESSON AND MINI QUIZ)
“I like Psychology.”
“I like anything and everything that’s not Trig.”
“I can work with that.” So far, so good.
SO things were quiet in the car for a while. Luckily she lived far from me and my family, so I had plenty of time to get her buttered up for that time.
“How’s the family?
I don’t know… my dad’s thinking of moving with some of the siblings. Mom needs a bit of a break; 6 has been hard to handle.”
“I love both of them, but… I don’t think their marriage will make it. I just want my father to be okay on his own with my younger sisters.”
“Sounds reasonable. It has been a long time, see.”
“For what? ‘
Asking. Most other kids know about my parents and kind of get bad vibes from how they treat each other. They don’t have a particularly golden reputation like your parents do.”
“But I ignore their bickering. I just make sure my siblings are safe, teaching them to ignore Mom and dad. They don’t dwell on a broken family, but..”
“Yeah. My mom and dad are… fine. But Kiki just loves to annoy me as ms. alarm clock this morning, and I end up cranky.”
“Think of things this way: If you don’t go to school with her, you’re car-less (get it?)! You won’t get a free car ride to school without your sister, will you?”
You have a good point there. Touche.
“But I’ve already figured out what you’re doing, “
The car gets silent. “Eh.. what?
“C’mon. Don’t play dumb. I actually find what you’re doing humorous.
I act confused, but worried.”What am I doing?”
“You’re buttering me up for something, aren’t you? Want to tell me something important? Something I”ll have some huge reaction to?”
Shoot. I’ve been caught. The only upside to hearing her plan was that she didn’t know what all that small talk was for, or why waht I was wanting to ask her. So I wasn’t out of the woods yet. SO instead of lying and risking the whole plan to hide my tracks, I said,
“Something where I’m just a little scared or your reaction…of it being a bad one…”
“Tell me! It can’t be that bad! If it’s to me or about something else, I can take it.”
“Sure you won’t be too shocked?”
“Yup. You’re my best bud.”
“Well, I know that as much as you like Psychology… isn’t nearly as long as I’ve liked you these past 3 years.”
“What do you mean?”
“I really like you Jina. Straight up.You’re my best friend but, I’ve wanted you as more than that. Something that can become more. You make me smile in ways no one else could, you have a great personality… I could go on and on. And you come from a rougher place than me, family-wise. You’re strong and you handle the biggest of challenges, including your large family. You are capable of so many things even when you think you aren’t and you’ve always been so…”
“Woah woah woah! Let’s slow down a minute. Are you…serious? Look, I know it’s been tough for you, losing Sampson and all, but there’s no need to go on some random rant about how you have someone in your life now that’ll make you feel loved. Trust and believe me, Corey. I’ll always be here for you- just… not in that way. You understand, right?”
“Oh….ok then…Of course…what was I saying? (starts laughing) I shouldn’t be rambling on to one of my few supporters like you about being in love with you, heh.. Anyway, I just remembered I’ve got somewhere to go right now… real important for next class. Just forget what I said, okay? It’s no big deal if you don’t feel the same.”
“Wait, Corey. Are you okay? I want to make sure you’re okay. We’re still best buds, are we not? I’m pretending you never even asked!”
“Like I said, I’ve got to go. I’ll see you later.”
Later on in the evening…Everyone’s home in time for supper. Corey is still overthinking the events that occurred at school, confused about what he should really do now. He said what he planned on doing if things didn’t turn out the way he wanted, which to him wasn’t that much to ask..
I can’t believe it…has it really come down to this? Where do I go from here? Nobody loves me…
Corey walks downstairs, telling everyone he knows who is at the table for dinner, “I’m going outside by the lake. I’m going to take a walk before it gets too dark.
His mother replies, “Okay, Corey. Be careful. Your sister will be outside for you to let you know dinner’s ready.” She was familiar with her son’s nightly evening walks around the lake they lived near. Kiki gave Corey a bit of the evil eye, but agreed to the fetching regardless, as she continued to set the table. Her worry for Corey was just fierce, was all.
So Corey just started walking towards the lake, thinking that death by drowning would be the best way to end it all. “I never go against my word,” were his last words as he draws himself closer to the lake site. Then, as he reaches the lakewater, he takes a moment to stare at what could be the port to his untimely death. Was this the time to reconsider? Was he still so intent on doing it, still so doomed, that he planned on going against God’s reassuring words, telling him not to do it? God was clearly the one who made him stop and stare into that lake, giving him the chance to refrain from an unnecessary death. Unfortunately, in a worldly mindset that was against God’s words and only one with the devil (who, according to the bible, would be the kind of spirit or demon to provoke and promote suicide) he still manages to throw himself in, and in the worst way to boot, into the water, making his drowning death almost instantaneous. If he hadn’t died from drowning, he probably would’ve shamefully, with a broken heart, died from the contaminants in the water.
About 15 minutes later, Kiki comes outside to call Corey in. “Hey hot shot! It’s suppertime, come back inside.” No answer. “Corey?” Still no answer. Kiki starts to freak out, checking further outside the door, checking the streets. “I’m going to check the lake, mom. I’ll be right back.” She tells her mother. When she reaches the lake, she is mortified from what she sees. But it’s already too late. Of course, however, she tells the family what she saw at the lake, and they contemplate through dinnertime, and the remainder of the night, what went wrong. Everything seemed fine, yet everyone was left so confused after Corey’s death. He didn’t even seem different when he arrived home, so not even Kiki knew why what happened that night happened. Was something wrong with him in the head? If there was, why didn’t he tell anyone? Corey wasn’t like that and Kiki knew it. The whole incident was a shame for the family, and the friends that eventually learned of Cory’s suicide.
Basically everyone in the family was affected by Corey’s death, and Kiki took the hardest hit because she felt like she was responsible for keeping him safe that night, for watching him, something she clearly felt like she didn’t do. She wasn’t the same superstar she knew in the past without Corey, and while she had the rest of her family and friends around to console her, it never felt the same to her without Corey. The mother and father were, of course, devastated, but fought hard to keep the family situation together; most of their time was spent on Kiki in attempts to make her feel better, but unfortunately they continued coming to little aid. They were all suffering mentally and emotionally, as a family, over something that couldn’t have been avoided. It’s not like they were a bad family that didn’t love Corey, it was just the fact that they weren’t the people he wanted to love him the way he wanted to be loved, which was in a way what meant more to Corey than family love. Jina didn’t know how to feel after learning of Corey’s death, and while she didn’t take the situation lightly, she did feel like she had some part in this for some reason. She just didn’t know what she could’ve done or said to make whatever happen not happen. Corey also had several other friends at school who sympathized with the family in consolement, understanding that loss, especially of a child or sibling, is hard to deal with; especially when no one knows why the death even occurred. It was quite a tale to tell, and the worst part? A lot of it involved questions for the family that were never fully answered.
Several days later…
Kiki sees Jina at school, and wishes to address the situation, face to face, because she was actually the last person, aside from his family, that Corey saw before his suicide.
Kiki starts off, “ Hey.”
“Oh…hey. Look, I’m sorry for what you’ve been dealing with and…”
“So you’ve heard about my struggles? About Corey?”
“Um, yeah… That’s what I was talking about.”
“Did you have anything to do with it, you think?”
“Wha? Me? Nah.”
“Hm. I see.”
There is an awkward silence in the air.
“I’ll see you around, then.”
“Yeah… you too.”
As Kiki and Jina part ways, Jina is left in fact with questions, asking herself in the process of getting to her next class, “why was Kiki acting so strange? Why did Kiki ask her what she asked her? Why did Corey really commit suicide? Kill himself? Was it because of her rejection?” She did not want to believe the worst, but the questions and answers were rolling around her mind after the encounter, and she felt bad about it but didn’t know how to approach it. She decided to leave the situation alone, because it wasn’t her family grieving over the loss as much as his. Kiki was left with no answers, but the way Jina was acting around her only confirmed her suspicions: it wasn’t intentional, but Jina definitely had some influence over Corey before his death, provoking him in some way into suicide.
An elderly woman and a little girl sat across from each other in the musty boarding area at Laguardia airport. The elderly woman was tall and lean, with grey hair pulled back into a bun so tight it almost smoothed out the many wrinkles lining her forehead. She wore a grey cotton turtle neck that completely absorbed her neck, and a pair of grey trousers roughly two shades darker than her grey sneakers; the only part of her outfit that did not look new or freshly cleaned and pressed. The woman also wore a grey expression as she read her book, holding it up below her chin and moving only her cloudy blue eyes back and forth across the dry beigh pages with small black print. She was completely still as she read, breaking her stillness only to lick the tip of her finger in order to turn the pages of her rather boring book. This was no easy task, as the pages were stiff and the spine of the book was as tightly wound as the woman herself. When the woman took a break from her book and glanced up, she saw the little girl sitting across from her. The girl was a normal height and weight for an 8 year old, however as the woman stared at her she thought to herself about how short and chubby she was. What a spoiled little girl. I’m sure her parents feed her nothing but sugar. The woman had never liked children, and didn’t have any of her own.
The little girl sat innocently on a boarding area chair- or rather she lounged in it- for she laid on top of her bent legs while reclining against the cold metal arm of the chair. This was an interesting pose only achievable by a person of her age, not because of superior flexibility but because any normal adult would be too self conscious and self-important to sit in such a manner, however comfortable it may be. The little girl fiddled with a loose string on her knitted green sweater that she continuously wrapped and unwrapped around her index finger. The girl had light brown wavy hair that barely surpassed her chin. Her hair was tucked behind her ears, which were pierced with a pair of bright pink star earrings. The girl’s luggage, which was black and fairly large, was almost entirely covered in shiny dinosaur stickers. Some of the stickers were partially scraped off, reduced to only a thin white piece of material still stuck onto the luggage. From looking at it anyone could assume that the little girl had taken over a parent’s suitcase with multiple sheets of dinosaur stickers, and after a failed attempt to remove them, the parent gave in and turned the suitcase over to the little girl. After thoroughly observing and judging the girl (observing and judging being two of her favorite past times), the woman let out a yawn and reached down for her now-cold coffee that she had placed on the carpeted floor. She sat back upright, took a long sip, and after yawning once again promptly realized that the little girl was gone.
The little girl wandered excitedly down the lane of boutiquess, newsstands and duty-free designer stores. Her brown eyes surveyed each store for things that might interest her or for a potential snack, as the flight was boarding in 5 minutes and she wasn’t sure she would like the food they served on the plane. The little girl had seen the flash drives sold at many tech store she passed littered around her father’s desk at home, yet knew not what they were for or why people needed them. She cringed looking at the Starbucks, remembering the time she unwisely stole a sip of her aunt’s coffee, and then insisted on eating a cookie immediately after to get the bitter taste out of her mouth. Then suddenly she saw something out of the corner of her eye that interested her greatly.
From the next store over, the elderly woman stared at the little girl standing in front of a display of stuffed animals. After she had realized that the little girl had left her seat she went to find her, although not being sure what compelled her to do so. It was probably a mixture of boredom and curiosity. Getting a little closer with out trying to seem obvious, the woman now saw that the girl was fixated on a small toy rabbit. It was a light orange color with floppy ears and looked more realistic than any other of the stuffed animals. The girl stared at it with an incredible intensity that the woman had not expected from someone of her age. She looked at that rabbit not like it was something that she wanted, but something that she needed. Something comforting and fulfilling, even if it was a silly toy rabbit. The woman tried to think of the last thing she had felt that way about. Nothing came to mind.
By Priyanka Voruganti & Jaidev Alvarez
Scene One – (Main camp area)
Midday, raining, dark skies, clouds threatening to spill over
Nika is walking westward down the main camp path, an amber pebbled lane. Her head is wet, her hair pulled back into a hot pink ponytail holder and she is wearing a long black raincoat and green, worn chocos. There are little squiggles in black on her shoes, signifying her youth. She is also carrying an army green camping backpack filled with many things (so it is large). Attached to the backpack is a blue Crazy Creek with more designs in black marker: flowers, hearts, and smiley faces. They’re not very advanced, signifying Nika just doodles for fun. An orange rock climbing harness is also attached to the bag. As she is walking down the path, Rowynn passes her, walking in the opposite direction. Her hair is wispy and her eyes cast down. She is not as drenched as Nika even though she isn’t wearing a raincoat. She is wearing black shorts to her knees (all the other girls wear them very short) black converse, and a grey pullover. Her skin is etched with sharpie marks, the doodles clouding her ankles, calves, and hands. When Nika walks past Rowynn, she keeps her eyes trailed on her the whole time and even when they separated further, she is watching Rowynn. Once they are about 20 feet away, Nika calls, “Hey!” She embarrassingly turns back around quickly after saying it and continues on her way. But a few seconds after, Rowynn stops walking and quietly says, “Hi.” Nika slowly turns to look at Rowynn and laughs awkwardly at their distance. Then Nika jogs to Rowynn and anxiously mumbles, “I just really liked your like, uh arms, like the drawings, and wasn’t going to say anything but then did say something but it was sorta late by the time I said something and… Hah yeah…” Rowynn laughs, a convincing, cheerful, loud chuckle, which makes Nika giggle. Then they begin to talk. (Camera doesn’t know what they are saying and pans out to the view of the whole camp). Then, after 20 seconds of this, Nika sprints in a rush in the direction she had been walking and her harness falls off. She turns back to look at Rowynn but then notices the missing harness and rushes back to get it, watching Rowynn as she (Rowynn) walks down the same path in the opposite direction and turns the corner to become invisible.
Scene Two (The cafeteria)
Light brown wood walls covered with painted plaques commemorating camp champions, the kitchen on one side and the salad bar on the other, all the tables in the middle, a skylight in the ceiling of the room, bright fluorescent lights, loud, clamouring voices and sounds of silverware
It is dinner time now and all the girls in the camp are in the cafeteria. The scene begins as a close up of Nika’s table, where the girls (about eight) in her cabin (they sit as a cabin) are talking loudly, far louder than any other table (most of the sound of the shot comes from their table). Morgan is seated near the head of the table and all the girls seem to be talking to her directly. Morgan says, “Dude Soph, you need to stop wearing those Justice training bras- they’re like ridiculously ugly and make your boobs look tiny. ” The girls laugh, Nika included, while Sophie scoffs and mumbles, “Tell my mom that Morg…” Morgan rolls her eyes. Nika gets bored of the conversation and looks over to the “Lotus” table (the cabin Lotus) where Rowynn was seated. She watches Rowynn talk to her friends and sees her laugh when someone makes a funny comment but also stares out the windows of the cafeteria as if she is trying to find something in the distance. Soon, the girls in Nika’s cabin become aware of her gaze and look in the same direction. One of the girls asks, “Who’s that Nika?” Nika looks away and says, “No one. I thought I saw something but- it’s nothing.” Morgan intentionally laughs awkwardly, “Ha-ha, O.K. Now Lila, you were telling us about that really hot guy from the social?” The girls laugh and begin talking. Just then, Rowynn looks over to Nika.
Scene Three (Bus)
Grey leathery-material seats in two columns (and 5 rows of seats) cramped close together, able to seat about 15 people
The girls in Nika’s cabin along with Rowynn and a few younger girls from another cabin are sitting in the seats of the bus with their caving hard hats and wearing dark colors, full sleeve clothing, and hiking boots. Nika is seated with a girl in her cabin, Morgan with another girl, Sophie with another girl and Rowynn is alone. All the other girls not mentioned are sitting in pairs of two (but the order is irrelevant). Everyone is hollering, gossipping, and laughing loudly. Some girls are in an amplified conversation while others are screaming along to Party in The USA, playing in the bus. Nika, while singing, leans over to look out the window as they begin to reach more hilly terrain. She is in awe as they go deep into the dark, mysterious yet mystical forest. She stares outside for about five minutes until she sees a sign saying “Carolina Monster Cave: 5 MILES” and turns back around to sit on her seat, taking deep breaths, trying to calm herself. Then she stands up on her seat to see if there is an empty spot in the back, but finds Rowynn seated there. She is almost unnoticeable, her knees up on the seat, doodling on her notebook which rests on her legs. Nika watches Rowynn for the remainder of the song, pretending to still be invested in the karaoke show. When the song ends, Rowynn notices the shift in sound and looks up from her drawings, becoming aware of Nika’s stare. Rowynn sleepily smiles at Nika, not seeming embarrassed about being exposed in any way she might have been. Nika quickly stands up and walks down the bus to take the seat next to her while all of her bunkmates stare at Nika in confusion. The two began talking, and from the body language you can tell they are both very interested in what the other is saying. Then the bus arrives at the cave site. Nika says, “Oh! I guess we’re here hah…” Rowynn responds, “Yea-” When Morgan grabs Rowynn’s hand and says, “Hey! We should be partners for this- I’ll pulley you and you pulley me!” Before Rowynn can respond, Morgan pulls her off the bus and they walk out together. Nika watches them leave and then walks out with the rest of the girls.
Scene Four (Bus)
Grey leathery-material seats in two columns (and 5 rows of seats) cramped close together, able to seat about 15 people. It is dark yet the moon is shining brightly.
When they all return to the bus in the evening, Morgan and Rowynn board it together, a pair, twirling the other’s fingers and whispering hushed jokes. Nika walks on after them and stares at them the whole time, as they take their seats in the back. Nika sits next to who she was sitting with at the beginning of the bus ride there, but in a different location- one directly diagonal and one seat ahead of Rowynn and Morgan’s. Throughout the ride, Rowynn whispers in Morgan’s ear and Nika keeps her eyes on them regularly. The girls again chant and off-key harmonize, but this time it is half-hearted. The girls’ exhaustion is visible on their faces and in their sound. Most of them are humming and staring out of the window in a daze. Somewhere near the end of the ride, Rowynn whispers a long message to Morgan and after, Morgan scoots over to the edge of the seat with a fearful, shocked look on her face yet a sort of determined look in her gaze.
Scene Five (Camp lawn)
The same gravel path from scene one, nighttime, behind it (the path) is the large, green, camp lawn, no one on the lawn
All the girls are filing out of the bus, but before they can actually exit the vehicle Morgan pushes through and runs across the line. The girls in her cabin notice Morgan and look at each other, confused. When one begins to rush after Morgan, the others follow, clearly trying to be the closest one to her. However, Nika moves more slowly, for when she sees the girls chasing after Morgan she rolls her eyes and turns back to say goodbye to Rowynn. She doesn’t see Rowynn though and then stands there for a second, looking in the same direction Rowynn went in the first day they met and then decides to race after her bunkmates.
Scene Six (Nika’s cabin)
Dark mahogany wood adorned with colorful camp plaques dating back to the 1800s, pricey yet day-to-day clothes (lululemon leggings, sweaty betty athletic clothing, Adidas sneakers), a lot of makeup, hair accessories (and hot irons, blow dries), iPod shuffles (all pink), and Teen Vogue magazines are all scattered around the floor, five bunk beds with colorful sheets and many stuffed animals
The girls rush into the cabin and spot Morgan. She is in her top bunk bed, inside her fuzzy teal blanket and clutching a pig stuffed animal. Her mini clip-on fan is on as well. The girls run over to her bed and stand around it, some girls managing to fit on the ladder to be elevated and closer to Morgan with the others further away from her. Nika is one of the few girls standing on the floor. They all put their arms on Morgan and Lila chirps, “Morgieee what’s up?” Lila is the closest to Morgan (location and in terms of relationship). The other girls join in, “Yeah what happened?” “Morgan!!” “Are you okay?” Nika is silent. Morgan scoots a bit out of her bed, lifting her head out of her covers and convincingly says, “Rowynn is not who we thought she was.” And then she tells the girls about Rowynn, a Rowynn they had never heard of (The camera does not catch this dialogue). You see the girls’ confusion in their face but also nervousness, some looking at Morgan as she tells the tale as if she is a hero and others more unsure. The entire time, Nika is suspended in confusion. At the end, all the girls are hugging each other, tightly, along with Nika. However, when she is enveloped in Morgan’s arms, she stares at Morgan, hard, as if she is trying to reach some answer and then looks at the girls around her.
Scene Seven (Outside Nika’s Cabin)
The outside of the cabin- dark mahogany wood and a rotted green door with a short wood stairway leading down to a pebbled path. Daytime yet cloudy.
It is the next day (the girls are wearing different outfits) and Nika and her bunkmates are sitting on their cabin steps, throwing pebbles and working on lanyards. Nika is on the ground near the pathway to their cabin, playing with a piece of grass while Morgan is whispering to two other girls and everyone else is immersed in an activity listed. Suddenly, three girls walk past Nika and her cabin, up the path. While they pass, Morgan stares at them and then calls, “Wait! You’re in Rowynn’s cabin right?” They turn around and say yeah. All of Nika’s bunkmates look at each other with wide eyes. Nika stares at the sky. Morgan says, “so you know she’s like a psycho lesbian right?” The girls in Rowynn’s cabin furrow their brows and Morgan raises her eyebrows. “It’s true! She told me herself. Freaking crazy. She basically has a shrine of like pictures of vaginas and weird candles stuffed inside her eggcrate.” The girls in Rowynn’s cabin scoff. “I don’t believe it.” Sophie looks at Morgan. “Morg’s right. Rowynn likes girls.” She lowers her voice, “Like wants to have sex with them.” Sophie’s face heats up, embarrassed of what she said. Nika looks at the grass and picks at it.
Scene Eight (Cafeteria)
The scene begins with the girls filing into the cafeteria in a section with outdoor sinks and a volunteer camper passing out paper towels and then the girls file into the lunchroom- Light brown wood walls covered with painted plaques commemorating camp champions, the kitchen on one side and the salad bar on the other, all the tables in the middle, a skylight in the ceiling of the room, bright fluorescent lights, loud, clamouring voices and sounds of silverware
It is the next day, or a few days later (new outfits) Nika and her bunkmates are waiting in line for the sinks, all in loud conversation. When it’s Nika’s turn for the sink, she walks up to one where a girl is finishing up. The girl turns around and it is Rowynn. Nika looks at her, about to open her mouth but Rowynn pushes past her. Nika turns around but does not see Rowynn. She washes her hands and then goes into the cafeteria. She goes into the lunch line and her friends meet her. “Dude did you see Rowynn? She totally knows we told her dirty secret,” Morgan says. Rowynn is at the top of the line, shown getting lunch while everyone stares at her and whispers. As she walks to her table, people obviously and intentionally squirm or move away. She has a glazed over look in her eyes, a sort of sadness. Nika is watching this unfold as she waits in line and asks Sophie, “What is everyone doing?” “Um, avoiding her lesbianism?” The girls except Nika laugh. “Isn’t that not how it works though?” Nika asks. “I dunno. Morgan says if you touch her then she’ll make you her sex slave.” “I doubt it,” Nika responds quietly.
Scene Nine (Rowynn’s Cabin)
Identical to Nika’s but the bed placement is different and there aren’t as many clothes laying around
While Rowynn was sleeping, tossing and turning in her sheets, a girl, one of the ones Morgan spoke to in an earlier scene, in Rowynn’s bunk creeps up to Rowynn’s cot and forcefully pushes a pillow onto her face. Rowynn immediately wakes and with more force, since she is stronger, pushes back on the girl and she falls back along with the pillow while Rowynn scrambles to stand up. “What the heck!” The other girl also quickly gets back on her feet and out from the shadows comes the other girls in the bunk, forming a circle around Rowynn. Rowynn quivers, “What’s going on?” The girls get in the face of Rowynn, and the original one says, “We heard you peeped on us when we were sleeping. This is what happens when you peep.” The girl punches Rowynn. “You wanna watch us change and shower? Then this is what you get.” All the girls begin to circle in on Rowynn, and she is at a loss of words. “What are you gonna say? Nothing?” The girls are confused, thinking they would hear an explanation of some sort. Rowynn is on the ground and stares at the ground. The main girl quivers, “Is this a joke? Explain yourself!” She kicks Rowynn in the side. Rowynn grunts and rolls on her side, adjacent to a bottom bunk bed. She stares at the ground. The girls look at Rowynn for a few seconds before one says, “I don’t want to do this.” They all deliberate but the focus is on Rowynn, tearing up on the ground in the dark. You hear the girls get back in their beds while Rowynn stays in the same position.
Scene Ten (Nika’s cabin)
Bright sun coming into their (now clean) cabin
The scene begins with Nika’s counselor shaking her and her bunkmates to wake up. Nika sits up. Morgan sits up in her bed, yawns and sleepily comments, “Mmm glad you know who’s not crawling around in my bed.” The girls giggle, but it is clear the joke is a bit old. Their counselor says, “Ya’ll don’t gotta worry, she’s left camp. Bad idea the girl was here anyways. It’s just not a place she’s cut outto be.” “Wait what do you mean she’s not here?” Nika says. Before their counselor can respond, Morgan suspiciously says, “Who cares Ni? The freak’s gone let’s celebrate!” Nika looks around at the girls in her cabin but all of them are still lying down. Nika leans over to see Sophie, below her. She’s awake yet still lying down. Sophie meets Nika’s eyes but then looks away. “Nothing?” Sophie closes her eyes. Morgan begins to get out of her covers and walk down her ladder. Nika sits back up and looks at the ceiling. “So just all of a sudden she’s not even a person?” Nika says, looking to Morgan. Morgan snickers and rolls her eyes, “Drama queen,” she whispers. Nika, tears forming in her eyes, jumps out of her bed and runs outside the cabin. We hear the counselor calling, “Nika! It’s only 6:30!” and Morgan’s laugh. Nika sits on a stair and the noise from the cabin is blurred out. Nika looks at the sky. She mouths “Rowynn” to the air and then carves her name in the pebble path.
Homosexuality, or even being anything other than straight and cisgender, is often looked down upon in communities of color. Personally, I’ve been told things such as “being gay or transgender is not normal” or “being a part of the LGBTQ+ community is only for white people and famous people.” These statements are obviously not true and although I’m not a part of the LGBTQ+ community, I know that hearing things like that so often can really make you think that these statements are true and make you feel practically worthless. This is why I think that films like Mosquita y Mari are so important. This film showcases two young Mexican-American girls exploring their sexuality and their families that never suspect this is happening. Having a film with such strong representation can not only positively impact a viewer, but it can also point out a horrible flaw in society: the belief that only heterosexuality and being cisgender is the norm. This is really highlighted in a few key scenes.
In one scene, Yolanda and Mari are hanging out together and end up checking people’s cars to see if any of them are open. When they eventually find an unlocked car, they have a little jam session together in the car. A while later when both Yolanda and Mari’s parents were in the grocery store, the cashier tells them that he saw both of their daughters enter a boy’s car, which is obviously not true. Why did he go straight to assuming that they were in the car with a boy or multiple boys? Was it really that hard to believe that they were in there alone? In addition to this, in another scene, Yolanda and Mari are laying down on the couch in Yolanda’s home. Of course, her parents aren’t around. While they’re laying together they start to get a little touchy-feely and just when you think something big is going to happen, Yolanda’s parents walk in and they both get as far away from each other as they can get. When they’re asked what they were doing, Yolanda says that they were just studying and that’s the end of the conversation. The fact that maybe they were doing something other than studying never crossed their minds, and shows how strong the idea of “being straight” is. The way that girls are suspected of sneaking around with guys and vice versa should be the same way that girls should be suspected of sneaking around with girls and so on. Even though a parent has every right to be mad that they were sneaking around, they shouldn’t be mad that their child is attracted to the same gender. It simply isn’t fair.
Secondly, just the inclusion of two Mexican-American actresses in these roles, instead of “relatable” actresses like Shailene Woodley that one of these roles may’ve been given to in another situation, is enough to inspire someone that may find themselves seeing many similarities between Yolanda or Mari and themselves. Not only that, but multiple scenes really show how invested they are in their culture. For example, when Yolanda was in her parent’s room, she puts on her father’s cowboy hat and dances to Latino music. There was also a scene in which Yolanda and Mari are at their secret hideout and Yolanda talks about memories of her grandmother in Mexico and her desire go back. Characters like this can be so inspiring to people that may see themselves in these characters. Someone may be going through what Yolanda and Mari are going through or see two characters that have the same background as them, and they will begin to realize that they’re not alone, which is really important to me.
Overall, the representation of two women of color in a film in which they are exploring their sexuality is important because it goes against negative statements that viewers may’ve been hearing all their lives and it may help them realize that they’re not alone. It also points out and critiques the idea that heterosexuality is the norm which is obviously not true. I really hope that this film inspired people in the same way that films similar to this one inspired me.