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Moonlight Mile (PG-13)

Touchstone Pictures
Official Site
Director: Brad Silberling
Producer: Brad Silberling and Mark Johnson
Written by: Brad Silberling
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon, Holly Hunter, Ellen Pompeo

Rating: out of 5

What Moonlight Mile’s trailer promised was a film coursing with palpable pain as grief-stricken parents and fiancé cope with a young woman’s untimely death. Adorning the film are three powerful and dramatically experienced actors. Moonlight Mile, on the other hand, turned out to be a vehicle for a cheap romance and an easy resolution for all characters. And that was the only sad part.

Thrusting you into the story, the film begins with Diana’s funeral (she was killed randomly in a diner) and hardly gives the audience a chance to feel anything for the fallen character. When Joe (Gyllenhaal), the dutiful fiancé goes to the post office, he meets Bertie Knox (Pompeo), a postal worker who helps reclaim his wedding invitations. There begins a maple syrup romance that is painfully sweet and unrealistic. As she helps him forget his dead ex, he helps fill the void of her missing-in-action boyfriend lost in the wilds of Vietnam. The romance is oh too convenient and plays out cliché after cliché.

The only real brilliant moments are those when the characters expose the rawness of their emotions, unburdening their grief. While Joe climbs in through the window after a midnight rendezvous with Bertie, Jo Jo (Sarandon) sits on his bed reviving her long-time affair with the bottle and crying over her maelstrom of emotions. There the film resembles its trailer in a too-brief glimpse of real feeling.

Instead of just addressing the torrid and tumultuous emotions involved with a grisly death, Moonlight Mile was mired in plot designs to keep Joe Moviegoer interested—because feelings are boring and romance is much more interesting. If you want to see what this film could have been simply watch the trailer or check out In The Bedroom on video. There’s a film with a similar premise, executed with much more heart.

—Jennifer Prestigiacomo


hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

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Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

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