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Luminous Motion
Luminous Motion
Actors: Deborah Kara Unger, Terry Kinney, Eric Lloyd, Jamey Sheridan, Patrick Fitzgerald
Director: Bette Gordon
Genres: Drama
NR     2001     1hr 31min

Bette Gordon, who made her directorial debut in 1983 with Variety, returned 15 years later with this adaptation of Scott Bradfield's novel The History of Luminous Motion about an alcoholic mother. "Only two things mattered...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Deborah Kara Unger, Terry Kinney, Eric Lloyd, Jamey Sheridan, Patrick Fitzgerald
Director: Bette Gordon
Creators: Anthony Bregman, Dara Weintraub, Elyse Goldberg, Eric Rudin, Ted Hope, Robert Roth, Scott Bradfield
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Family Life
Studio: Fox Lorber
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 10/16/2001
Original Release Date: 01/01/1998
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1998
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 1hr 31min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Eric Lloyd Gives a Performance That Will Win Your Heart!
Sensitive Stephen | USA | 12/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Scott Bradfield's novel of the same name receives a senstive and winning screen adaptation. Although this movie did not get much attention when it first appeared, you will greatly enjoy seeing it on DVD. The DVD transfer is first-rate. Eric Lloyd is the one to watch here!--Sensitive Stephen, Host of BoysOnYourScreen.netA plot summary:Ten year old Phillip Davis has spent half his life
joyously living on the California highways with his
carefree and highly seductive mother. Every night is a
road, every man is a map, and no love is stronger than
the love Phillip feels for his mom. Mom is light and
Mom is motion. So when Mom decides to settle down and lead an
average life with an average American man, Phillip
sees himself as her savior, and his mission is to
liberate Mom. At first, he appears to succeed, but an
unexpected event sidetracks his plans: Phillip's
powerful father re-enters his life and he wants his
family back. Oedipus was lucky - he was ignorant of
his crime. But Phillip is all too aware of his situation
and he knows exactly what he must do to regain a life
in motion.Phillip's obsessive love for his mother is intense and
perhaps perverse but it is also as innocent and
psychologically familiar as Humbert Humbert's
hopeless love for Lolita. Ultimately, Phillip learns that
Mom is a world all her own and there are some places
we must all go alone."
Bad, unpleasant film
Andy | Lowell, MA United States | 04/01/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)

"LUMINOUS MOTION is the kind of mess that just can't escape certain people who praise it because it's so "offbeat" and "different" and "low key". Yes, it is all three of those and I myself certainly like something offbeat, different and low key in my movies too. However, those qualities don't necessisarly translante into "Good".And LUMINOUS MOTION is definitely NOT a good or even OK film. In fact, it's pretty bad. It's not that it's badly acted...Eric Lloyd is very good. The film goes way overboard with the "motion" theme, pummeling it to death. People also apparently don't mind that this boy ends up doing some pretty nasty things in this movie. It left me feeling empty and depressed with hardly anyone likable or redeeming in it. The movie rambles on and on with occasional fringes into the surreal. Surreal stuff like this is tricky to handle, and LUMINOUS MOTION can't get a handle on it."
Alcoholic floozie on her own raises murderous brat--
Paul Emmons | West Chester, PA USA | 06/04/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)

"So what's new?

I'm reminded of a friend's description of an article he had read: zoologists observed a herd of elephants whose alpha male had died. The young male elephants failed to mature properly, becoming wantonly destructive, and the adult females could not control them. Only when a new alpha male joined the herd was order restored.

If this glitteringly surreal but naturalistic and nihilistic film shows any truth, it is that humans are no different in this respect. It seems an unlikely moral to come from a reputedly feminist director, but there we are.

10-year-old Phillip appears to be a sympathetic character at first: very intelligent, thoughtful, adventurous, devoted to his mother, making the best of a bad situation. But gradually he is revealed to be totally self-centered and amoral, with an oversized Oedipus complex, a morbid imagination, a keen nose for the worst of company, and of course no manners at all. Some would say he needs a shrink. It is more obvious that he needs a dad, although anyone stepping into that role does so in peril of his life, as Pedro discovers.

The last scenes are represented as an affluent but utterly sterile existence: mother and son sun themselves on air mattresses in rich husband/dad's backyward swimming pool, conversing as they slowly drift apart in the water. But at least everyone's still alive.
I guess it could have been worse...
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 10/16/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Luminous Motion (Bette Gordon, 1998)

When you get Scott Bradfield adapting his own underrated novel for the screen and put Deborah Kara Unger (Crash) in the lead role, good things are to be expected from the film treatment. Unfortunately, not a single one of those good things is realized.

Mom (Unger) and her hyperintelligent kid Phillip (Eric Lloyd, who's recently been making his bucks in the Santa Clause franchise) lead a rootless existence, living out of their car and motels, feeding themselves with Mom's petty thievery and series of one-night stands. Until, that is, they meet Pedro (Amber Frey: Witness for the Prosecution's Terry Kinney). Pedro isn't exactly a knight in shining armor, but he's a nice enough guy, and Phillip's mom likes the idea of settling down. Phillip, on the other hand, is not happy with the idea at all. Things get even more complicated when Phillip's dad (Jamey Sheridan of Law and Order: Criminal Intent) shows up to try and make a go of playing family again.

About the best word I can come up with to describe this movie is "disjointed." There's a good deal going on under the surface here, but the surface isn't coherent enough for most of it to gel, and se we end up with more questions than answers after seeing it. The principals are all at least half-decent actors, but most of them seem to be railing against a blank wall rather than actually interacting with one another.

Not a worthy treatment of Bradfield's novel. **"