Moonlight Mile Review
By Shawn McKenzie 10/07/2002
Jake Gyllenhaal has really made a name for himself this year. He had two supporting roles earlier this year in Lovely & Amazing and The Good Girl. Now, in Moonlight Mile, he is in the spotlight in a lead role, and he is proving that he will be an acting force to reckon with.
Moonlight Mile is a tale based on director Brad Silberling’s own story. An obsessed fan killed Silberling’s girlfriend, Rebecca Schaeffer, who played Patti on the 1986-1988 CBS sitcom "My Sister Sam." Set somewhere in the mid ‘70s, the movie starts at the funeral of the fiancée of Joe Nast (Gyllenhaal.) Ben and Jojo Floss (Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon), the parents of Diana (Careena Melia), the fiancée, accompany him. Joe also lives with Ben and Jojo, and he is about to go into a business partnership with Ben. He really doesn’t want to go into this partnership, but he feels an obligation out of guilt towards the Floss’s. One day while at the post office (retrieving the wedding invitations that Ben didn’t want sent out since it would be awkward), Joe meets Bertie Knox (Ellen Pompeo), the woman in charge of the post office. She also runs her boyfriend’s bar named Cal’s Place. Cal is overseas in Vietnam and has been MIA for years. Joe secretly starts seeing more and more of Bertie, partly because they can both understand the pain of the loss of a loved one. Meanwhile, he is trying to work with Diana’s parents and their lawyer, Mona Camp (Holly Hunter), to convict the man who killed Diana. The whole movie is about each character’s personal ways of dealing with losing someone close. Joe’s personal story adds an element of remorse and responsibility. He is torn between what he wants and what he feels he owes to Diana’s parents.
This movie is very slow moving for younger movie-going audiences, but if you have patience, you will enjoy it. It may sound like a very depressing movie, but it manages to put many laughs in it too. It makes you wonder what you might do if you were in Joe’s situation.
The performances in Moonlight Mile are Oscar-worthy. Gyllenhaal always looks tired to me, but that look is exactly what was needed for this role. Hoffman could see a Best Supporting Actor nomination coming his way. Everyone involved in the movie give excellent performances.
Like the HBO series "Six Feet Under," Moonlight Mile deals with the subject of death with a sense of humor, but if you are not patient with the message, you might lose it.
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