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MOONLIGHT MILE

After a young man’s fiancee is murdered, he becomes extraordinarily close to her parents.


CAST: Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon, Ellen Pompeo, Aleksia Landeau, Richard Messing, Lev Friedman, Holly Hunter, Dabney Coleman

DIRECTOR: Brad Silberling

 

"The movie, which makes an unusually intense effort to deal with the process of grief and renewal, is inspired by a loss in Silberling's own life. The TV actress Rebecca Schaeffer, his girlfriend at the time, was killed in 1989 by a fan…‘Moonlight Mile’ gives itself the freedom to feel contradictory things. It is sentimental but feels free to offend, is analytical and then surrenders to the illogic of its characters, is about grief and yet permits laughter." --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"The writer-director, Brad Silberling (‘City of Angels’), based the movie in part on the 1989 death of his own girlfriend, the actress Rebecca Schaeffer, and then built it around the studied elfin moroseness of Gyllenhaal's presence. Silberling invites us to revel in the five stages of grief, but the film's real intent is to soothe rather than pierce, to make sadness look cozy and domesticated. Its subject might better be described as the five flavors of grief…In ‘Ordinary People,’ at least one character--Mary Tyler Moore's--had to fall so that the others could survive. In ‘Moonlight Mile,’ no one gets shut out of the hug cycle." --Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

"Though its conclusion is too tidily therapeutic, and though elements of its story strain credibility, ‘Moonlight Mile’ has an understated, lived-in quality and a wry, unforced sense of the absurd...It is Mr. Gyllenhaal who does the most to rescue the movie from its triter impulses…the director has put together a collage of period music without succumbing to the usual classic-rock clichés, and he has a good instinct for the ways people use pop music to communicate and to express emotions they can't quite articulate. In fact, if they articulated them a little bit less, ‘Moonlight Mile’ would be a stronger movie." --A.O. Scott, The New York Times

"Calculation and sincerity struggle for the soul of "Moonlight Mile," always an unequal combat when Hollywood is the battleground. What's on screen is too honest and from the heart to totally dismiss but too slick and contrived to completely embrace. This is a film that cares about genuine emotion but also wants to tame it, to tidy it up and keep it confined to quarters… Silberling has crafted a good number of strong, memorable moments--a barroom dance set to the Rolling Stones title song is particularly nice--but finally the presence of real feelings underlines what's missing when they're not there." --Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times

"Most of the new young-adult male actors are interchangeable, but Gyllenhaal is one of a kind: Every emotion he shows us is newly minted, every line reading has its own private tempo. He never comes across with a single, quantifiable attitude. Instead, he allows the crazy-making confusions of a character to take over, and this makes him just about the most realistic and comical and disturbing portrayer of youthful angst around. He's easily the best thing in ‘Moonlight Mile’…Silberling belabors just about everything. He wants us to know, over and over again, that family is where you find it, and so is love." --Peter Rainer, New York

"‘Moonlight Mile’ breaks all the rules of melodrama. It is a smart, unsentimental and surprisingly funny film…The big-eyed Gyllenhaal is poignant but never cloying as he sifts through his sadness for a hard kernel of truth…Sarandon's remarkably sharp performance strikes the perfect note between self-indulgent bluntness and clear-eyed bravery. It's the best work of her career and the crowning jewel in a rare Hollywood movie that respects our capacity to think and feel for ourselves." --Joe Willliams, --St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"A good cast with acting to match cannot inject sufficient life into this morose story about attempts to come to grips with grief…‘Moonlight Mile’ has too many situations that are not all that believable. The characters don't always act as one suspects they might under such circumstances…there's a courtroom scene that is totally absurd as Joe rambles on about his feelings and personal situation in a speech that any defense attorney would have objected to as irrelevant, if a judge didn't interrupt first…‘Moonlight Mile’ lacks the overall ring of truth needed to grip us as such a tale must to be more than maudlin." --William Wolf, Wolf Entertainment Guide

"…an intensely personal and quirkily likable comedy-drama about a family trying to coping with loss…unlike most studio projects today, it doesn't feel like it was written by a computer…the sort of small, handcrafted movie Hollywood studios haven't made regularly since, well, the 1970s." --Lou Lumenick, The New York Post