Projections - Movie Reviews

Goodbye Hello

Moonlight Mile

First rate actors show the many facets of the grieving process in this moving drama.

Susan Sarandon and Dustin Hoffman play JoJo and Ben Floss, parents of a daughter, Diana who was killed by a stranger while having coffee in a local diner.

At the time of her death, she was engaged to Joe (Jake Gyllenhaal), who moves in with her parents during the funeral and finds it difficult to move on because JoJo and Ben have made him so much a part of their lives.

Ben, especially, clings to Joe.  He adds the words "and son" to his small real estate business sign and starts making plans for the boy who he almost feels is a son.

Joe, on the other hand, wants to move on, but with a sense of obligation and a bit of timidity, is content to allow the Floss' to include him in their plans.  That is, until he meets a cute young girl that works at the local post office while he is retrieving wedding invitations.

All of the actors are distinguished in conveying the emotional roller coaster that grieving people experience.  One of them has no patience when dealing with friends who attempt to express condolences, however awkward and uncomfortable they seem to be.  And one flits around acting like a nervous host at a cocktail party when friends and family arrive at their home following the funeral. And if that's not off-putting enough, Joe shuts himself into a closet to get away from people who instead of comforting him, spurt out stupid remarks.  The thing is, no one is comfortable in these circumstances, and no matter how much a person wants to convey their heartfelt thoughts, it comes out wrong.

Hoffman is simply heartbreaking as the father who finds it is difficult talking about his dead daughter as he did when she was alive.  Sarandon's JoJo is more in tune with other characters she has played, a bit sarcastic, independent and strong willed.  Gyllenhaal reminds me very much of Hoffman's Benjamin in The Graduate.  An unfocused young man, unsure of his direction, he displays the same slumped-shouldered, unsteady gait and wide-eyed innocent look.

The script has the ring of truth to it because Brad Silberling the director drew on personal experiences; his girlfriend actress Rebecca Schaeffer, was killed by a stalker.

Moonlight Mile is moving, sad and even humorous, but it's the strong performances that make it so believable and special.

Moonlight Mile

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