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Moonlight and its director

Barry Jenkins is the director and co-writer of the film Moonlight, which won an Oscar for best picture at the 89th Academy Awards. (1) In “an epic bungle before 33 million viewers,” the wrong film — La La Land — was mistakenly announced as best picture. (2)

The film tells the story of Chiron, a young African-American gay man growing up in a housing project in Miami. His story is divided into three segments — boy, teenager, and adult — and played by different actors at each stage.

The film, produced for $1.5 million, has earned over $50 million, and has won praise on many fronts (e.g., the cinematography, the score, the cast), but also for its sensitive depiction of Chiron’s emotional life. (3) For astrologers, Chiron evokes pain and redemption and experiences that take us to a new edge of perception or vulnerability.

The film was described by an early reviewer as “a disarmingly, at times almost unbearably personal film.” (4) Jenkins said about Chiron: “He’s someone who’s very curious and open about the world, but that’s slowly beaten out of him by the reaction of the world around him. In love we expand, and in fear we retract. He’s a character who wants to love and be loved.” (5)

In another comment about the character, producer Jeremy Kleiner said: “There are people who will see the film and feel somehow less alone than they were when it began. I feel that way, and I don’t have much in common with the literal experience of Chiron. But I feel like I’m watching the most specific human experience and, through that, I access the importance of love and what its absence can do.” (6)

Now, for a brief look at Barry Jenkins solar chart. Without a known birth time, I’m not going to try to synthesize the chart, just mention a few planetary themes — kind of a cookbook approach.

Barry Jenkins, sunrise chart (no known birth time)
November 19, 1979; Miami, Florida 25N37 80W12

The Sun, Mercury, and Uranus are in Scorpio. The Moon was in Scorpio until about 8:00 p.m. on the day he was born, which was the day of the New Moon at 26°48′ Scorpio. Mercury retrograde was at its conjunction with the Sun that day as well. The chart has Venus conjunct Neptune in Sagittarius and Mars at 29° Leo, with Saturn, Jupiter, and the North Node in Virgo.

The eloquent emotional depth of Scorpio is obvious in the film, as is the artistic impulse symbolized by Venus-Neptune. Naomie Harris, the actress who plays Chiron’s sometimes crack-addicted mother, initially did not want the part. However, “after reading Jenkins’ words and hearing him make a passionate case for the character of Chiron’s troubled mother, Paula, she realized ‘he had a vested interest in ensuring this character didn’t become a stereotype and would be given her full humanity.’ “ (7) I view this as a display of Venus conjunct Neptune, seeing beyond her troubles into “her full humanity.”

Along with the gentle artistry of Venus and the emotional and sexual intensity of the Scorpio planets, the director’s Virgo placements are apparent — in the interview referred to above, Jenkins said: “I am a craftsman.” (8)

Mars at 29° Leo is on the fixed star Regulus, the kingmaker. Without a time of birth, one thing we can do is set the pre-natal solar eclipse (PNSE) chart set for the place of birth to get a feel for the big themes and purpose of the life. Barry Jenkins’s PNSE was at 29° Leo on August 22, 1979. The Sun, Moon, Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury are all in Leo straddling the MC, surely a sign of a brilliant and visible career in the arts.

August 22, 1979
1:10 p.m.
Miami, FL 25N37 80W12

The item that got me started on this topic was Jenkins’s remark on February 26th, the night he won the Oscar after the aforementioned goof with the wrong film being named. Jupiter and Uranus were opposing in the sky. (9)

“The last 20 minutes of my life have been insane,” Barry Jenkins, the director of Moonlight, told reporters backstage after the awards. “I don’t think my life could be changed any more dramatically than the last 20 or 30 minutes.’ “ How’s that for Jupiter-Uranus, especially with Mars and Uranus exactly conjunct and opposing Jupiter?

Academy Award night
February 26, 2017
set for 7 p.m.
Los Angeles, CA 33N55 118W20

Mars, significant in Jenkins’ natal chart as dispositor of the Scorpio Sun, Mercury, Uranus, and maybe the Moon, and also conjunct the royal star Regulus, was precisely triggering Jupiter-Uranus by transit that night. Now that’s a memorable and fortuitous turn.


(1) The film is based on an “unpublished semi-autobiographical play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” by Tarell Alvin McCraney.

(2) NY Times

(3) Deadline

(4) NY Times

(5) Deadline

(6) Deadline

(7) Hollywood Reporter

(8) Deadline

(9) Jupiter opposite Uranus, exact on Dec. 26, 2016; March 2; September 27, 2017.

(10) Live Entertainment


  1. …..Lovely review of a touching, poignant film

    I enjoyed your review so much. Although it has been a while since I’ve seen the film, reading your review resurrected the film’s high, and low points.

    In therms of its coarser moments, the film was often quite raw, yet held together beautifully. I liked the way your review conveyed the necessary, competing dichotomies so often present in human relations!

    THANKS!! & hope all is well..
    Judith Harte,LMFT.,Ph.D.Astrology/Psychotherapy

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