Saturday, October 05, 2002

Moonlight Mile (IMDB) (Netflix)
We open with parents (Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon) and a young man (Jake Gyllenhaal) preparing to attend the funeral of a young women; their daughter, his fiance. She was in the wrong place at the worst time, and now everyone is coping in their own way with the aftermath. Complicating matters is that Jake is living with his in-laws, was about to go into business with Dad, and has additional burdens placed on the hell he's going through.

On paper, this seems to contain enough melodrama potential to gum up every gear in the projector, and there are most definitely those kind of moments, but good writing and great acting, plus a relationship Jake strikes up with newcomer Ellen Pompeo, are able to break free from the sticky bits to move the story along. Gyllenhaal, the brother of Secretary's Maggie, has the goods, as does the rest of the cast, although Sarandon's part seemed written a little too hip for credulity, and the movie's title seems to be the concoction of a publicist favoring alliteration over relevance and meaning.

On the whole, well-conceived and executed.