Monday, October 16, 2017

The Light of the Moon

It's an unfortunate aspect of reality that sexual assault is an always lurking danger. Very rarely does the victim of such violence come forward with what happened to them out of fear for their attacker to seek retribution. And then there's the matter of rape culture...

Jessica M. Thompson's The Light of the Moon focuses on the aftermath of such viciousness when it happens to Bonnie (Stephanie Beatriz). She tells those close to her that she was mugged -- only the police and her boyfriend Matt (Michael Stahl-David) know the truth -- possibly out of worry for how she'll be seen as afterwards. But will she be able to move on with her life?

In a similar vein to what Ida Lupino did with Outrage nearly seventy years ago, Thompson maintains sympathy towards the lead character. But in contrast to what Lupino did, she doesn't have Bonnie constantly looking over her shoulder following her assault. That's not to say it didn't affect her; reminders from either concerned friends or therapy cause her to retreat emotionally.

But this isn't just Bonnie's story. The Light of the Moon shows how those close to her change afterwards, particularly Matt. He starts treating Bonnie like royalty: cooking more, constantly checking in on her, things like that. But she calls out that he never treated her like this before the incident, and that's what causes more tension than the actual attack.

The Light of the Moon is (perhaps unfortunately) the kind of film we need in this day and age. It's not where rape is used as cheap exploitation not as something gratuitous added to an already weak script; Thompson instead shines a light on the emotional toll that follows such cruelty. If anything, this should serve as a reminder for those who think the victims were "asking for it"; they most certainly were not.

My Rating: ****1/2

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