Every stereotype in the history of lesbian movies applies in this insipid piece of coitus interruptus from Portland, Oregon, director Nicole Conn. Not only doesn't she have the courage to write and direct something that is... more » uniquely her own--she pulls almost verbatim from Donna Deitch's better, more masterful lesbian drama Desert Hearts--but she banters to every inane heterosexual cliché, including slow-burning looks, endless cigarettes, and long, slow-motion walks on the beach. This horribly acted love story between legendary writer Claire Jabrowski (Trisha Todd) and sex therapist Dr. Nicole Benedict (Karen Trumbo) unfolds as the two (gulp) become roommates at a New Age writers workshop. The romance then relies on flirting and inane banter to involve the viewer. After an hour of scary lesbian dyke drama, we're all ready to change sexual preference. It's poorly acted, silly, and titillating in that it will provoke bored straight women more than gay girls. In the end this regressive movie will appeal most to lost souls who believe true love will be found in all the wrong places. Too, it's an insult to freelance writers everywhere who struggle hourly to make a living. Watching Claire--of the moon or of whatever planet--walk beaches while she reaps paychecks and accolades from unknown sources (never do we see her type a word) is ridiculous and false. I'm here to tell you they do it (finally) in the end, but the long wait isn't worth the boring soft porn finale. Look instead to Patricia Rozema's When Night Is Falling for real thrills. --Paula Nechak« less
"I gave this movie a 1, but it's a 5 on the unintentional comedy scale. There is enough stilted dialogue, cliches and bad acting in this movie to embarrass William Shatner.
There were some strange things going on in this movie:
-> Even though the women are at a casual writer's retreat out in the woods, they all dress up exactly like they would back home. Why? So you can decipher their personalities in a hurry, without a lot of messy character development. I especially like how the Doctor dresses up every morning to sit at her typewriter. Nice shoulder pads!
-> Clair doesn't write a word the entire movie. She drinks, smokes, stares out the window, smokes some more, drinks a lot more, takes some aspirin, makes coffee, and then stares out the window some more. To break up the monotony, she occasionally walks on the beach and smokes. And she goes into town to drink and smoke.
-> The two main characters almost have sex 26 times. By the time they finally do it, you don't care.
-> One character states "sex between two women is about as raw as it gets." Maybe, but then why does Clair still have her jeans on during most of the final scene?
Instead of returning this movie to the public library, I decided to be a humanitarian and I ran it over with my car. Pay it forward. "
Flawed, yes, but probably my favorite lesbian film ever
Elena | 08/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Claire of the Moon is not for everyone, as you can tell by the first time Claire (Trisha Todd) opens her mouth. She speaks slowly, with far too many "dramatic" pauses, and enunciates everything too much. We are painfully aware that she is acting. Then the woman she meets answers her back in exactly the same earnestly overacted way. It's not just Claire. My first thought was "Uh-oh, the entire movie is going to be like this?" And it is. There's some really awful lines and bad acting, and it can feel awfully slow. But, believe it or not, it is good. You stop noticing the stilted acting after a while.
This film is the story of Claire, who, while attending a women's writing retreat, rooms with Noel, and discovers that she isn't quite as straight as she thinks she is. This love story is intertwined with meetings with the other women at the writing retreat, ostensibly to discuss their novels, but really to talk about gender and relationships.
Claire of the Moon is very much a product of its time, with a lot more separatism than is currently fashionable. This movie is entirely about women -- there is pretty much one speaking male character in the movie, with a very minor part, and any other men are there as objects. Relationships between women are privileged; the idea that men and women speak different languages and will never understand each other is prominent. True intimacy (again, it was the early 90s, so substitute "love" or "sex" as appropriate) can pretty only be achieved by women, with women. You have to have a bit of the lesbian separatist in you to enjoy this, but if you do, then you really will -- it's all about women and women's community. Okay, so Noel's views on intimacy occasionally contradict themselves, but the film's heart is in the right place.
It's also a very, very pretty film. The soundtrack is full of beautiful piano pieces, some original, some Chopin, as well as some folk and rock pieces for the bar scenes. The camera work itself is unremarkable, but it doesn't need to do anything special, because the scenery is absolutely stunning. It was filmed in the Pacific Northwest, and there are many, many gorgeous shots of the Pacific. Claire walks along the beach a lot, and well she should -- it's fantastic.
Of course, the heart of the movie is the love story between Claire and Noel. Maybe I'm just biased because I think Trisha Todd is so amazingly beautiful, but I think this is one of the most convincing falling-in-love (or at least lust) lesbian movies. Watching this, I can actually believe that they want each other, which is something that I can rarely see in movies. Props to the director and the actors. The movie also does an excellent job with the sexual tension -- with all their flirting and fantasizing, you really, really start wanting Claire and Noel to get together by about the last third of the movie.
The sex scene, by the way, is my favorite one out of all the lesbian films I've seen. And not just because Claire's hot. It, unlike many others, is convincing and real and happily does not feel objectifying or exploitative. It's not one of those scenes where the women are writhing about such that the viewer wonders exactly how they're having such a good time when they're very clearly not touching each other. I can't be the only person who hates those. The scene here is so much more believable. ("Sex between women is as raw as it gets," Noel says at one point (yes, I snickered too), and the film certainly tries to live up to that.) You should at least rent it for the ending, even if you watch nothing else.
My main complaint is with whoever did the sound. It's hideously unbalanced. You have to turn the volume way up for any talking to be audible (and even then there are some lines I just can't get), and then way down for any music, which for some reason is very loud. Keep your volume control in hand. To compound the problem, there are no closed captions, so you can't just leave the sound low and follow along.
The DVD release is very nice indeed, a 2-disc special edition. There is a commentary track with the writer/director and the producer, which I recommend, and not just because it's something to listen to if you can't take listening to one character's painfully fake Southern accent during the book club meetings. From the commentary I learned that the director was sleeping with Trisha Todd, which I feel explains way more about the movie, like why the camera loves Claire naked. Anyway. On the second disc there is a making-of documentary that is almost as long as the film, and is, alas, mostly unwatchable. It is even harder to hear than the movie. There's a lot of home-movie footage of things that were probably funny to the crew but mean nothing to me, footage of cast parties, 20 minutes of the most boring outtakes ever, some cool deleted scenes, and, for some reason, every scene of topless Claire from the movie. There's also some trailers and such. If you liked the movie, the making-of is fun in a painfully bad way.
Claire of the Moon is a classic lesbian movie. I am aware of all of its flaws, and yet it is the movie I keep watching. If you're willing to be a staunch separatist for a couple hours, and can ignore some painful dialogue and occasionally clunky acting, you just might find you like Claire and Noel."
Not the best movie ever made, but the bonus disk is great
A. Davis | Cleveland, ohio United States | 01/29/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This movie has lots of flaws. I saw it years ago, and my memory of it was that it was horrible. I watched it again tonight, it wasn't horrible, just not very good. I seen worse from major studios. Next to Showgirls, this movie is Oscar material (yeah, that's a backhanded compliment). Really, there were times that the acting of the two main characters was so wooden, you could carve a toy gun. They, would follow it up in the next scene, that made me scratch my head - the acting would be quite good. Go figure... I will say that some of the sex scenes were just dead on hot ... and the build-up of the tension, just dead bang on the mark. Where it was the worse was those neverending shots of the characters doing the pensive stare out the window - way to long.
The bonus disk was great. I watched it first this time and that made me go back to watch the movie again. There was stuff in the bonus disk that didn't make it to the movie, too bad. Some of it was damn good. It also helped to explain the movie a little better, sudden cast changes explain that sometimes bad acting. All in all the bonus disk made it worth my while to buy the set."
I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS MOVIE
Lizzy | 11/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm beginning to think that I may need therapy to get a handle on this one. I pretty much watch this movie on a daily basis (twice sometimes). What is it about watching Claire and Noel interact and fall in love that intrigues me so much? Your guess is as good as mine. What I am clear on is that I love the actors, the acting, the dialog, and of course, the music, which is just awesome. "Cynara, Poetry in Motion" (on DVD) is on my wish list. Keep rolling them out Nicole Conn."
nataliamcb | Cologne, Germany | 07/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am really surprised that the reviews are so bad!! Okay, some of the conversations do not have much sense (like when talking about relationships between men and women) but the story is not about these relationships its about INTIMACY VS SEX. Its about how each person looks for intimacy in different ways..Its about discovering your sexual orientation...Its about fear...Its about love...Its about music..
Its this kind of film that makes you think.
And I find it perfectly describes the way in which two women approach each other..Its so real, the way that they look at each other, the way they try to get near but are afraid to get hurt, the seduction...Its so good!
I just find its one of the best films ive ever seen! Low budget, great story, great acting!"