Moonlight Mile (2002) starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon, Holly Hunter, Ellen Pompeo, Dabney Coleman directed by Brad Silberling Movie Review

Moonlight Mile (2002)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Jake Gyllenhaal and Dustin Hoffman in Moonlight Mile (2002)

Clouded Moonlight

Following the murder of his fiancee Joe Nast (Jake Gyllenhaal) has moved in with her parents Ben (Dustin Hoffman) and JoJo Floss (Susan Sarandon) who try to keep going as normal with Joe joining Ben in the realtor business which was what was meant to happen after the wedding. But for Ben and JoJo having Joe around is a connection to their daughter and a way for them to avoid dealing with the grief. For Joe it is a nightmare, unable to move on with his own life and grieve it is going to be only a matter of time that things are going to collapse and maybe postal worker Bertie Knox (Ellen Pompeo) will be the catalyst.

"Moonlight Mile" is in possession of a very interesting idea when it comes to tackling the subject of death, grieving and moving on and from what I understand writer and director Brad Silberling drew on some of his personal experiences when it comes to the story. The thing is that the good idea is buried beneath layers off off-beat drama and off-beat characters which for me made watching "Moonlight Mile" a hard slog right from the opening scene as we are presented with a vision of Joe walking on water.

Ellen Pompeo in Moonlight Mile (2002)

The thing is that maybe my taste in entertainment is different to others and I admit that I don't really get off-beat like others do. So for that reason when we get scenes from Joe putting Pepto-Bismol in a dog's food bowl to a cat jumping on said dogs back it doesn't entertain me. Those in fact are the easier ones to digest and others from a dream of a phone ringing to a dog vomiting at a funeral seem to me like they have no place other than to suggest that grief is surreal.

It is a real shame because this whole concept of Joe being sucked up in Ben and JoJo's world as they avoid grieving whilst trying to hold on to the past is a fascinating one. There is such potential to be touching and dramatic yet Siberling seems intent on going off-beat. One of the things he does is have all the characters refer to each other by name all the time and I do mean all the time which just feels incredibly false.

The one thing which "Moonlight Mile" has going for it is a cast who as actors have likeability and so even when the odd ball drama and humour fails to grab you the fact it is Hoffman, Sarandon and Gyllenhaal helps to keep you watching.

What this all boils down to is that "Moonlight Mile" didn't do it for me and I guess my taste for the peculiar and the quirky does not match up to either director Brad Silberling's or all those who have enjoyed this movie. It's a shame really as I loved the idea just not the final product.