Review: The Light of the Moon

Stephanie Beatriz in The Light of the Moon

The Light of the Moon is real and powerful and brilliantly acted and written. The film begins when Bonnie (Stephanie Beatriz) is raped on her way home from a night out with friends. The Light of the Moon shows her struggle to cope.

I’m probably the only person in America who hasn’t seen Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I was aware that Stephanie Beatriz received praise for her role in that series, but I had no idea what an extraordinary actress she is. Her portrayal of a woman who has everything in her life turned upside down by a violent encounter in a Brooklyn alleyway is outstanding.

This film may be triggering for some, so be cautious about choosing to watch it.

Conrad Ricamora and Stephanie Beatriz in The Light of the Moon

Bonnie is an architect. She works with Jack (Conrad Ricamora) and other young architects and goes out drinking with them one night when her boyfriend Matt (Michael Stahl-David) drops by to say he is going out with clients. She’s attacked as she walks home alone.

Matt comes home and finds her bruised and bleeding.

She does some smart things to preserve evidence. She goes to the hospital. Police come and take a rape kit. They give her pills for HIV and pregnancy and STDs.

Matt is a good man. He does his best to help and support Bonnie. She doesn’t want to tell anyone what really happened. She wants to pretend it was a mugging. She doesn’t want to go to the group therapy sessions the police told her about. She’s prickly and defensive and argumentative. She stares into space and won’t open up.

Her trauma and PTSD are apparent to everyone but her. She’s determined to trick herself into thinking she’s doing okay.

Michael Stahl-David and Stephanie Beatriz in The Light of the Moon

Matt works to convince her to talk to her parents, to Jack, to the support group. She resists. He does his best to maintain the normal sex life Bonnie wants. I thought the sex scenes between them were very well done, but the hard-hitting part was their conversation after sex. These scenes were raw and vulnerable.

My only minor issue with how the story progressed was how compressed it was time-wise. Some women take months, years even, before they can open up about a rape. We see Bonnie moving in that direction by the end of the film. Otherwise it was nuanced and realistic.

Other characters in the story were played by Catherine Curtin, Olga Merediz, and Cara Loften.

The Light of the Moon was written and directed by Jessica M. Thompson. Thompson also appeared in the film as a waitress. Additionally, The Light of the Moon was edited by a woman, and the production company was an Equal Opportunity Employer that hired primarily women and minorities. This outstanding film is an example of the quality and emotional honestly you get when women tell their own stories. Bonnie’s story is specific, but it’s also every woman’s story.

You can see The Light of the Moon on Amazon Video, YouTube, or Google Play.

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