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Moonlight Mile

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All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Moonlight Mile

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Susan Sarandon
Director: Brad Silberling
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 118 Minutes
Release Date: October 2002
Genre: Drama


*Also starring: Holly Hunter, Dustin Hoffman, Camden Munson, Richard T. Jones, Dabney Coleman, Ellen Pompeo



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Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

Two narrative threads are woven here: 1) dealing with grief and 2) living a lie. The story, set in 1973, opens with a funeral in a small Massachusetts town. JoJo and Ben Floss (Susan Sarandon, Dustin Hoffman) are mourning their murdered daughter whose fiancé Joe (Jake Gyllenhaal) wanders aimlessly. JoJo reacts angrily to condolences ("Why don't they think before they spew?"), while Ben buries his pain in his work. Dazed and confused, Joe has moved in with his would-be in-laws and agreed to join Ben in commercial real estate. Briefed by their attorney (Holly Hunter), they're are awaiting the gunman's upcoming trial. But there are pesky details to deal with. Like the wedding invitations which Joe must retrieve from the local post-office. That's where he meets quirky, wise-cracking Bertie (scene-stealing Ellen Pompeo), who runs a neighborhood bar owned by her fiancé who's been M.I.A. for three years in Vietnam. You can guess what happens when these two lost souls meet, but Joe is also grappling with a dilemma. The Flosses don't know that he'd actually broken his engagement to their daughter just days before she was shot and that he's staying with them partly through a feeling of guilty obligation. When that secret is eventually revealed, there are aching, affecting, illusion-shattering moments for Sarandon, Hoffman and Gyllenhaal. Writer-director Brad Silberling was inspired by his own experiences following the 1989 murder of his fiancée, TV actress Rebecca Schaeffer, so the grief rings true, although a subplot involving a proposed mall seems perfunctory. Songs like the Rolling Stones' "Moonlight Mile" imbue the soundtrack with nostalgia. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Moonlight Mile" is a bittersweet 7, a meditation on love, loss, grieving and moving on.

Copyright © 2002 Susan Granger

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