Credit Imagination Films
When we meet Bonnie, a young architect in Brooklyn, she’s on her way to a well-deserved night out. Bonnie drinks and dances, swatting away a few overeager hands. After turning down her friend’s offer to split a cab, she stumbles toward home. Bonnie puts on her headphones, she’s in her own world. And then Bonnie is pulled into an alleyway, where she is brutally raped by a stranger.
The rape is an early turning point in “The Light Of The Moon” and what follows are the aftereffects of this violation. Charismatically played by Stephanie Beatriz of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” Bonnie walks us through the bureaucratic process of victimhood — having a rape kit administered, going to the police station to identify suspects, and meeting with lawyers to discuss the likelihood of arrests. But Bonnie also experiences the emotional consequences of rape. She’s angry at her boyfriend, Matt (Michael Stahl-David) for changing his behavior as he tries to care for her, but Bonnie changes too. She’s moody, she’s secretive, her work suffers, and she can’t have sex without thinking of the attack.
No matter how low Bonnie’s spirits sink, the film’s writer and director, Jessica M. Thompson, holds her star up to the light. With colorful sets and bright cinematography to match its lucid emotional logic, “The Light of the Moon” is a realistic exercise in psychological clarity. For viewers whose experiences mirror Bonnie’s or Matt’s, this therapeutically minded movie might remind them of past anxieties, but as a resource for those looking to understand the process of recovery, it’s hard to imagine a more comprehensive or sympathetic look at the challenge of surviving.