Moonlight Mile (2002)

DVD Cover (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
Genres: Comedy Drama, Coming-Of-Age, Family Drama
A young man lingers in the family home of his fiancee, after her accidental death. While grieving along with her parents and drawn into legal issues presented by a district attorney seeking justice for the family, he finds himself falling in love with another woman, against his own best intentions. --IMDb
Brad Silberling Brad Silberling
Jake Gyllenhaal Jake Gyllenhaal
Dustin Hoffman Dustin Hoffman
Susan Sarandon Susan Sarandon
Alexia Landeau Alexia Landeau
Richard Messing Richard Messing

6.6 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: May 27, 2005
Though I can't say the Oscar race is over, I can certainly say that it has been narrowed down a bit. Which film has created such a buzz and become worthy of such an honor? Why, it's "Moonlight Mile", the newest drama from the director of "City of Angels" and "Casper". The man is Brad Silberling and "Moonlight Mile" is based on actual events. Silberling's girlfriend, Rebecca Schaeffer, was murdered in 1989 by an obsessed fan and this film details the events that transpired after her death, between he and her parents. That's one of the primary reasons this is such a powerful film--you can feel the emotion and heartache buried beneath the quirks and subtle humor. Usually I mention this at the end of the review, but why bother--this is the best motion picture of the year.

The setting is 1973 and Joe Nast (Jake Gyllenhaal) is living with Ben and JoJo Floss (Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon). The Floss' daughter, Diana, has died, who just so happened to be Gyllenhaal's fiancÚ. His plans are put on hold as he stays in an upstairs bedroom, trying to overcome the loss of his love, while also engaging in a new love of his own. This film chronicles the healing process in a way I have never seen before, as we see it through the eyes of the fiancÚ and the parents. We also see the relationship between the fiancÚ and the parents go through its ups and downs. This is a very emotional film, as it does deal with death, but it is also very quirky and full of humor. Sarandon does a wonderful job of inputting some delightful little moments of comedy, as does Gyllenhaal, who is great with facial expressions and physical comedy. Holly Hunter co-stars as the lawyer handling the case against Diana's killer, Dabney Coleman is the local millionaire, and Ellen Pompeo is the young girl to which Gyllenhaal takes a liking.

This film is overflowing with Oscar worthy performances, the most notable being that of Dustin Hoffman as the bereaved father. There is one scene, which you can see on the trailer, when Hoffman belts out, "I'm going to tell you something I never got the chance to tell her". He proceeds to kiss Gyllenhaal on the forehead with a face filled with tears. This scene is gut wrenching, as are several others in this film. Gyllenhaal gives another stellar performance, as he did in both "Donnie Darko" and "The Good Girl". His performance in "Moonlight Mile", however, surpasses the others because he is essentially the star of this film and is given more time to stretch his acting abilities. The rest of the cast is on target, as well, and I might say that it was great to see Dabney Coleman in another film--he is so wonderful on screen.

Though this film has opened in limited release, it had the gusto to take on a wide release straight out of the can. The star power and elegance of this film are the kind that most viewers recognize and flock to see. Director Brad Silberling has elevated himself, though at a personal cost, to a new level of direction and should be given much more credibility than "Casper" warranted.

So, here's the Oscar plead sheet: Best Actor (Gyllenhaal), Best Actor (Hoffman), Best Actress (Sarandon), Best Director (Silberling), Best Original Screenplay (Silberling), Best Musical Score, Best Picture. Those are just my suggestions to the Academy, though I doubt they will be considered. I do, however, feel that Oscar just might shine on this little marvel of American cinema and I will applauding the whole night through if that happens. Guess we'll just have to wait until March to find out. Crawl through broken glass to see this movie if you have to. 10/10.
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