Moonlight Mile

Goodnight Moon
Film review by: Witney Seibold



            Brad Silberling’s new film “Moonlight Mile” should be a shaggy dog of a film. It’s a story about mourning, new love, false starts, and scattered emotions. It should rightfully be rough-around-the-edges and slightly messy, because life is slightly messy. It should be scruffier. It is, however, not scruffy at all. It’s slick, neat, clean, and good-looking. Call me weird, but I was hoping for more pain.

            It is incidentally the early 1970s, and Diane Floss has died. In her wake, she left her fiancée Joe (Jake Gyllenhaal), and her parents Jo and Ben (Susan Sarandon and Dustin Hoffman) to grieve. They, of course, all have different approaches to their pain. Ben plans to “come out swinging,” Jo attacks the pain with sarcasm and honesty, and Joe, well, he stands around silent, and hides in closets occasionally. The film follows these people as they cope, grow, argue, and reveal the truths that they hadn’t had the courage to tell until the right moment. To complicate matters, Joe finds himself falling in love with equally wounded walking festival of conviviality Bertie (Ellen Pompeo, who looks like the lovechild of Deborah Kara Unger and Joey Lauren Adams).

            This film deals with large emotions on an everyday scale. It’s rich and full and honest. And it’s not cute or cloying like Silberling’s last feature “City of
Angels.” That film started with purity, and melted into syrup. This one starts with its purity, and ends with its purity in tact. The actors are fine for the most part. Dustin Hoffman was smart enough to play Ben unobtrusively, and Sarandon melted so well into the surrounding world. Gyllenhaal played the part glibly, which was only inappropriate in a few moments.

            The only thing that irked me was the slickness of the film. It was a little too shiny. The photography only slightly too beautiful. The make-up and hairdos, a little too impeccable. This film dealt with raw things at some moments, but the rawness was glossed over by neatness. We do get a great film, and a hopeful vision. Just one that is only a mite too hopeful.

Published in: on April 28, 2009 at 9:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

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