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Reviews » Theatrical Reviews » The Moonlight Mile
The Moonlight Mile
Other // PG-13 // September 27, 2002
Review by Todd Siechen | posted October 1, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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If you remember the absolutely wonderful film "City of Angels" then you are familiar with the Directing talents of Brad Silberling who wrote and directed "The Moonlight Mile"

In Moonlight Mile the main character, Joe Nast (Jake Gyllenhaal) has lost his fiance to a tragic accidental shooting and attends the funeral with her parents, Ben and JoJo Floss (Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon). Sarandon does a wonderful job here potraying JoJo as the witty sarcastic mother in mourning who cant stand all the people calling her up to give their condolences. Ben and JoJo are not aware that 3 weeks before the accidental death he had broken off the engagement. Joe now feels compelled to live with Ben and JoJo to share their grief. A romance develops between Joe and Bertie Knox (Ellen Pompeo), the small town postal clerk and grieving girlfriend of a local bar owner who happens to be a soldier in Vietnam. The development of this relationship leads Joe down an unexpected road and into more stress as he continues lying to the Floss family.

Joe is eventually called into the murderers trial to testify for his dead fiance, but instead of making her look pitiful and victimized like the lawyer, (Holly Hunter) wants him to, he delivers a fantastic speech about the true nature of his ex-girlfriend and how she stood for truth and honesty. He also takes this opportunity to finally admit he wasnt actually enganged to her before her death.

I went into this film totally cold having no idea what to expect. Sometimes this is a good thing and often it can work against you. In this case I think it worked against me as I found the first hour of the film slow and somewhat uninteresting. I just wasnt sure where it was going. Much of the dialog seemed way too clever and contrived. The film flows nicely in the second half, but the characters lines were losing me much of the time. There was very little connection with me emotionally. After sitting through the entire film and seeing how it played out I suddenly was much more interested in going back to the beginning to re-visit the early events in the story.

The pacing and style in the Moonlight Mile was inconsistent and spotty and suffered from over-writing. The actors didnt seem to have been given the freedom to flesh out the characters with any degree of freedom here. I get the sense that they struggled a bit with delivering characters that didnt ring totally true as the audience sensed. On a more overall note I liked the story, the relationships and many of the situations that were comical and genuinely heart-warming. Sarandon and Hoffman have a few great moments scattered throughout the film, but overall the performances were stifled by the writing.

Summary: This film has a definite emotional message and great underlying story that seems to get lost in a sea of confusing and forced dialog. This is a case of rhythm and pacing running hot and cold with a film that won't appeal to everyone. I look forward to giving it another viewing as this may be a film I can grow to love.
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