Oscar® winners Dustin Hoffman (Best Actor, 1980, Kramer vs. Kramer), Susan Sarandon (Best Actress, 1996, Dead Man Walking), and Holly Hunter (Best Actress, 1994, The Piano) star with Jake Gyllenhaal (The Good Girl) in Moon... more »light Mile -- an uplifting story of endearing honesty and humor. When Joe Nast (Gyllenhaal) experiences an unexpected loss, he wants to be the man he believes everyone wants him to be -- the dutifully bereaved husband-to-be and the perfect would-be son-in-law to Ben (Hoffman) and Jojo (Sarandon). But then another woman unexpectedly enters his life, and he's torn between fulfilling his new roles and following his heart.« less
Tara S. from STATEN ISLAND, NY Reviewed on 6/2/2017...
big JG fan! :)
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Michel D. (michelann) from WALNUT GROVE, MO Reviewed on 8/30/2016...
Very entertaining film with a great cast! Oscar winners Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon, and Holly Hunter give their all in this "uplifting" story while a young Jake Gyllenhall steals the show with his performance of a young man with a heavy loss (his fiance) and a new romance (Ellen Pompeo) from Grey's Anatomy.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Charlene C. (mccoffield) from SOUTHLAKE, TX Reviewed on 5/13/2011...
Five stars, all the way, for this film by director Brad Silberling. It is about the fiancé and the parents of a young lady, an innocent bystander who was killed in a shooting. It’s a story about secrets and transition for the family. The setting is a small town in Massachusetts during the transitional era of the early 1970’s. This symbolism of transition prevails throughout the film. Though the story’s basis is sad and serious, there are many surprising comic moments. That’s about all I’ll say about the plot, as the rest has already been covered by most editorial reviews. And in my opinion, though the plot is very well formed, it is much less important than the exceptional and realistic character development this film has achieved. The only possibly negative thing I can say about this excellent film is that it does perhaps start out a bit slow paced, but I think that was probably necessary for the character development; after the first fifteen minutes or so is when it really starts to get interesting.
The casting for this film was perfect and the superior chemistry among the actors is obvious and part of what makes this film so outstanding. The fiancé, Joe Nast, is played by the young Jake Gyllenhaal; the mother, JoJo Floss, is played by Susan Sarandon; the father, Ben Floss, is played by Dustin Hoffman; Joe’s new love interest, Bertie Knox, is played by Ellen Pompeo; and the district attorney, Mona Camp, is played by Holly Hunter. Phenomenal performances all round! So many feelings are expressed beyond the dialogue, especially well done by Jake Gyllenhaal, and the chemistry between Susan Sarandon and Dustin Hoffman makes the 30-year marriage of Mr. & Mrs. Floss come alive. It is interesting to note that Dustin Hoffman originally turned down the part but later, after seeing director Brad Silbering’s previous film, called him up to say that he very much wanted the part, after all. (I’m assuming that Silbering’s previous film to which Hoffman referred is City of Angels.)
The musical score, by award winning composer Mark Isham, is a very good one and complements the film perfectly. In fact, the musical score was pre-planned even before the film started rolling. It’s a well-honed blend of chamber music to Rock & Roll of the period. The title of the movie, Moonlight Mile, is derived from The Rolling Stones’ song, which is Bertie’s favorite that Joe selects on the jukebox.
The film originally debuted at the Toronto Film Festival on September 9, 2002. Ebert and Roper gave it “two thumbs way up”. I have no idea why this film did not produce more commotion at the box office or the Academy Awards. Perhaps it did not receive enough marketing publicity; I know that I had not even heard of it until very recently when I read the reviews and subsequently acquired the DVD. Most reviewers, excepting those die-hard fans of action films, agree with me in that this film is an underrated jewel. Rated PG-13.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Barbara A. from SUN CITY, CA Reviewed on 8/26/2008...
The casting of this DVD was done perfectly. Dustin Hoffman, the father who could never really tell his daughter how much he loved her. Susan Sarandon, the deep understanding wife and mother. Jake Gyllenhaal, showed his superb acting talents - I was surprised that a young Jake could shine as much as he did in this DVD. Slow at times, but in the end, gribbing and one you are so glad you can "pause" when you need to take a break!
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Gail S. (Bella44) from MEDINA, OH Reviewed on 12/23/2007...
Very touching and heartfelt story--this is one of my favorite movies!
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Not an easy film to make.....
L. Quido | Tampa, FL United States | 10/29/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Moonlight Mile" is a bummer. The death of a child, just as they've entered the adult world, is a sensitive and difficult topic to break through on the screen. That it was just done, and done beautifully, with "In the Bedroom" (a film that many thought dragged....) made the making of "Moonlight Mile" so much more difficult.
In Mile, daughter Diana Floss has been an innocent victim, killed in a domestic dispute between two other people, in the small town in which she was raised. Her death occurs just prior to what was to have been her wedding to Joe (Jake Gyllenhaal); and Joe and Diana's parents, Ben and JoJo (Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon) play through all of the emotions that surround such a family tragedy. They are alternately perfunctory and sarcastic, needy and emotional, stricken and determined to downplay the loss they feel.
Joe is lying about his intentions; he and Diana had broken up, but Ben is so determined to keep him a part of the family, and JoJo can play him off so well against the well-meaning Ben, that he feels compelled to stay, and continue to act out the American Tragedy, even going through the motions of going into business with Ben.
I give the film 4 stars because Brad Silberling, the director, is so dead on in terms of the artificiality of the mourning process, the manner in which we subject the family of someone taken from us to meaningless expressions of grief and concern, and the building of a mutual bond of sacrifice and strength that grows between the remaining family members. Silberling makes only two mistakes with his film:first, he fails to anchor the timing (the early 70's) in the minds of the viewer. It's difficult to understand the simplistic way in which things occur until you realize, halfway through, that this film happened 30 years ago. Second, he does not allow the viewer to know Diana. There are some visual sequences and some focus on photos that make the attempt, but too little of what she was gets through to the viewers, and, without more, we cannot sense the depth of loss the family feels.
The second compelling reason for a high rating is the performance of Susan Sarandon. Hoffman and young Gyllenhaal are both excellent in their roles, although Gyllenhaal never, not once, shows us the spark that would have attracted Diana, just the quiet, undemonstrative side of his character. Here, I think Silberling played too much into the type of person he is (he went through a similar tragedy with his fiancée), instead of what Joe could have been.
Sarandon is, in a word, superb. Blithe, brittle, outspoken and vibrant, she's a writer and a life force to be reckoned with. The scene in which she explains the relationship survival (between her and the completely opposite Ben)is a revelation. It's her hints and sidebars that make us realize truly, how little communication Ben and Diana had shared. She takes Joe to task when she realizes he has a new love (Ellen Pompeo: bewitching as Bertie), and, as much as she needs him, she conveys with her whole being how much she knows he has to leave. The conflict between Ben and JoJo is tragic in terms of how they feel about the murder trial for Diana's killer - in this, you know why JoJo feels as she does, although you can never really understand the way that Ben reacts. Lastly, she might have one of the best satirical lines ever on film when she acknowledges Joe's testimony as a "truth enema for all of us"...not too many actresses could carry that off! Sarandon, praised in many of my former reviews, is simply the best actress in America today.
I believe that most viewers will be bored by Moonlight Mile, but if you approach it for what it is, you'll find it a fine film that moves a little too slowly, and a hint of what is to come from Silberling."
Brilliant Performances, Marvelous Script
Ashley Quinn | IL United States | 08/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Susan Surandon, Dustin Hoffman, and Jake Gyllenhaal have truly outdone themselves. Surandon and Hoffman play grieving parents, Gyllenhaal is their would be son-in-law. Each give stellar perfomances and the script is amazing, both of which straddle the line between tragedy and comedy. As soon as a tear comes to your eye, Surandon's character Jo will blurt out a randomly brash straightforward comment that will make you laugh.
Ben (Hoffman) and Jo (Surandon) have just lost their only child, Diane, who was tragically shot in a diner. She was to be married to Joe (Gyllenhaal), who ends up staying with Ben and Jo because he has secrets that force him to believe it's the right thing to do. Then Joe meets a girl named Bertie, who helps him fish out his wedding invitations at the post office. Joe is attracted to Bertie, but he also doesn't want to hurt anyone.
The movie is a little slow, but I'm forgiving when a movie turns out to be so incredible. There were points in the movie when I had a hard time watching, just because it brings forth memories in my life which are sad, but unforgettable. As sad as I may have gotten while watching this movie, it makes me not want to forget.
I highly recommend this movie. You're getting alot out of this one movie, a great cast, great script, great direction... Definitely check it out!"
Great acting dominates quirky tale of grief
Matthew Horner | USA | 03/17/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Moonlight Mile" is quirky, semi-autobiographical movie about how some people deal with grief. It is somewhat different from most other movies on this topic because it doesn't dwell only on the seriousness of the situation. It also sees the humor. The script is a bit underdeveloped and leaves us less attached to the characters than we would like to be. What truly makes the movie worth watching is the cast. It's a treat to watch Jake Gyllenhaal, one of the best actors of today's generation, playing opposite Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon, two of the greatest actors of an older generation. [Holly Hunter is also present, but her supporting role doesn't require much of her formidable talent.] The movie opens in a small New England town as Joe [Gyllenhaal] is preparing to attend his fiancée's funeral. She was killed in a local restaurant by a crazed gunman. JoJo and Ben [Sarandon and Hoffman] are the girl's parents, and Joe is staying in their home. The couple has virtually adopted Joe, who still intends to go into business with Ben, a commercial real estate developer. It's obvious that Ben doesn't really know JoJo and Ben very well. His decision to remain with them is motivated primarily by guilt. As the movie progresses, we come to know the reasons for that guilt. When he becomes attracted to a local girl [Pompeo], his bond with JoJo and Ben starts to unravel. The story takes place in the 1970s. The set design and art direction are reasonably faithful to the period. Of the performances, Gyllenhaal and Sarandon's are the strongest. Gyllenhaal's character is quite memorable. Sarandon is superb as the liberal atheist Jojo, who finds out that even a lack of faith is severely tested in times of emotional crisis."
A realistic look at grief
Damian Gunn | I am everywhere | 04/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1971 'The Rolling Stones' recorded a beautiful track entitled 'Moonlight Mile' which is about being away from the ones you love. In the song he sings the words "I am just living to be lying by your side" and in those words we get it...we understand, and that is why this song, this title is so appropriate for a film of this grander. Susan Surandon and Dustin Hoffman star in this beautiful and touching film about losing the most important thing in your life, your child. Diana is engaged to Joe (Gyllenhaal in a powerful, pre-Brokeback, performance) when her life is taken by a madman. She is shot to death while being served in a diner. The movie opens with Joe, Ben (Hoffman) and Jojo (Surandon) getting ready to attend their daughters funeral. The next few seens really set the tone of the film and establish the roles your charactors will play. Within the first five minutes we see that Joe is uncomfortable, almost in his own skin, shy and reclusive and afraid of his suroundings. THis is not his town, these are not his friends, this is not his family and still he stays. Jojo appears strong, stronger than those around her but that's only because she doesn't know how to feel. It's only been three days. How does a mother feel THREE DAYS after her only child is murdered. SO to compensate Jojo finds humor in her situation and in those who share it with her. Ben feels a sense of responcibility. He's the sensible one, conciderate and understanding and appreciative of everyones good intentions regardless of how much he resents them for it. He may not want to see anyone right now, but he puts on a smile and says "thank you very much" because he knows you care. Those are your charactors, and that's your tone, uncomfortable, humorus and understanding. This film takes a VERY realistic approach to grief. Your uncomfortable, especially if you've never faced anything like this before. Your so uncomfortable that you tend to try anything to make yourself comfortable again, even if that means making jokes to place a smile on your otherwise blank face. And this film, is above all things, understanding for it really shows the stages one takes to overcome something like this. Jake Gyllenhaal says it best when he's invited to dinner at a colleges house. It's just not something you 'get over'. The story follows Joe as he lives with Jojo and Ben, mostly out of obligation but you come to realize that he may need them as much as they need him. When Joe meets Birdie (Ellen Pompeo in a superb performance), a local girl working at the post office they both start to form a bond, partly out of pure infactuation. When they dance to 'Moonlight Mile' it will all make sense, for it was that part of the film that did it for me. You spend all your time thinking over and over in your mind that things could have or should have been different, you spend so much time thinking about what could have been that you forget to think about what is GOING to happen next. As I said in the beginning, the song says "I am just living to be lying by your side"...but what if it's not refering to your love lost but to your love now, right in front of your eyes..and at that moment, while they danced in the bar, I got it, and I think they did too. A beautiful, touching and emotional story that reaches in and tugs at the heartstrings of any living breathing human being. I'm shocked this movie was ignored at the oscars, but it's not ignored here."
Phenomenal soundtrack enhances the mood
Jennifer Hicks | Mississippi | 10/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was so intrigued by the 70's era music in this movie, that I searched for the soundtrack on the internet. Van Morrison's music adds such an effervescense to movie scenes that it just stops you in your tracks to place you in the movie's moment with the characters. Moonlight Mile is no exception. I also loved Jefferson Airplane's "Coming Back to Me" featured on this soundtrack. It helped me remember why I loved music in the 70's. I could actually envision being back there during the hippie days, wearing a long peasant dress and a peace-sign necklace, and being in love with the world...envisioning my young deceased husband silhouetted, stepping out of the shadows with backlighting, returning to me, as the song says. But then, the reviews say that Moonlight Mile will hit home with anyone who has lost a loved one. This movie is richly acted and incredibly put together."