The Light of the Moon: LFF Film Review

Rape has been portrayed onscreen plenty of times but these are usually written and directed by men, so it was refreshing to see a film about a rape survivor written, directed and produced by a woman, based on a true story which happened to her friend, with a female cinematographer and woman of colour in the leading role.

Stephanie Beatriz is Bonnie, who is attacked and raped just three blocks from the Brooklyn apartment she shares with her boyfriend Matt (Michael Stahl-David) while she’s intoxicated after a work night out. We follow her in the weeks afterwards as she struggles to come to terms with what’s happened to her and how it affects her relationship.

Most rape films revolve around revenge, a court case etc so it was great to see how it affects someone on a smaller scale. It was actually really poignant to show how everything changes even if you are trying to move on and get back to normal as soon as possible. Bonnie wants her relationship and friendships to be the same as they were and she wants to get back to work straight away, but sometimes that’s not achievable until you’ve faced what’s happened.

Beatriz was incredible and gives an impressive, nuanced performance. She is best known for Brooklyn Nine-Nine so it was a pleasure to watch her sink her teeth into a meaty role. I hope she gets more dramatic roles because of it. Bonnie isn’t portrayed as the usual victim, she tries hard to be just like she was, and she wants everyone to do the same and they can’t get anything right. She wasn’t always likeable and at times I felt sorry for Matt, who is trying so hard to help and support her, but that’s seem accurate. She also likes to crack a joke to break the serious mood so I laughed more at this movie than expected.

I have no issues with this at all. It really handled the subject with care and a delicate touch. It is funny, it is serious and sometimes very sad, and Beatriz navigates Bonnie’s ever-fluctuating moods deftly. This is how a rape drama should be done. Well done to all involved.

Screening as part of the 61st BFI London Film Festival. It has no set UK release yet. 

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