Sexual Assault Awareness Month: The Light of the Moon Film Review

The Light of the Moon, stars  Bonnie, a successful Latina architect from New York City, who struggles to regain intimacy and control in her life after being sexually assaulted. The film is in Bonnie’s perspective and focuses on how she deals with her trauma and how she navigates her life after being raped one night walking home from a bar near her apartment. Bonnie is played by Stephanie Beatriz, who you might recognize from Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Beatriz discussed in an interview how rare it is to see the survivor’s point of view in films. Beatriz wants survivors like Bonnie to know that “you have power,” and you’re not alone. As much of a challenge as it was for Beatriz to tap into dark and vulnerable places to portray Bonnie, she thought The Light of the Moon was her best work and was important in setting up conversations about being a survivor of sexual assault.

The Light of the Moon did an excellent job focusing on Bonnie’s perspective. Bonnie wasn’t portrayed as helpless nor was she portrayed as vengeful, which you usually see in films. Jessica M. Thompson, the director and writer of The Light of the Moon, mentioned in an interview how the film was based on her two friends who had this happen to them in New York City. She felt like the story had never been told before, and the media’s portrayal of sexual assault contributed to rape culture rather than telling the honest story of a sexual assault survivor. Thompson wanted Bonnie to be a strong, funny and complex character by establishing who Bonnie was before she was raped and how she handled her world after being raped.

Although Bonnie had a loving and supportive boyfriend, he was never her savior. Bonnie pushed him away as well as other people in her life who tried to reach out to her. She put a lot of pressure on herself to resume life as usual, but towards the end, she realized that wasn’t possible. Bonnie emphasized how she didn’t want to move somewhere new, leave her job or stop living her life but she also couldn’t ignore that she’d been raped. The film also touched on a harsh reality that her assaulter wouldn’t get too much time in prison and he wouldn’t get locked up for good until he assaulted someone else.

There were a couple of scenes that focused on Bonnie having sex with her boyfriend. During those scenes, Bonnie’s facial expressions and reactions were highlighted to show that she wasn’t fragile or helpless and she was capable of feeling pleasure. Throughout the entire film, we saw how Bonnie dealt with everything that happened to her. Not everyone may relate to Bonnie but hopefully this film can inspire other filmmakers to create honest, empowering films about living your life after being sexually assaulted.

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