Does the sun ever shine in Moonlight Mile? The film seems to be set in a permanent damp November in New England.Moonlight Mile premiered earlier this month as a Toronto International Film Festival gala and now arrives in time for early Oscar consideration. Tasteful, prestigious, with an Oscar-heavy cast and a mood of mourning, it's the sort of film that people admire rather than love. Its emotions are pitched just right for the sort of people who think the Academy Awards matter.
Jake Gyllenhaal stars as the morose young man who's on his way to becoming a permanent guest in the home of his almost in-laws -- his relationship was terminated when a random gunman in a diner murdered his fiancée.
Brad Silberling's script, which was inspired by his relationship with Rebecca Schaefer -- the star of the TV series My Sister Sam, who was murdered by a stalker -- sets the characters loose in an emotional minefield, which Susan Sarandon keeps threatening to detonate and Dustin Hoffman keeps denying even exists.
The whole thing is horrifically tasteful. And somebody should tell Jake Gyllenhaal, so good in Donnie Darko, that Tobey McGuire's already given this performance a couple of times.
However, there are two interesting but trivial points.
First, last week, Goldie Hawn and daughter Kate Hudson had starring roles in films opening opposite each other. With The Banger Sisters already open and Igby Goes Down opening on Friday, we have three Susan Sarandon films opening in the space of two weeks.
Second, Moonlight Mile is set around 1974 and so the Rolling Stones song playing in the film is not an anachronism. However, it plays on a jukebox, which is an impossibility, because Moonlight Mile was never a email@example.com
MOONLIGHT MILE written and directed by Brad Silberling, produced by Silberling and Mark Johnson, with Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon and Holly Hunter. A Touchstone release. Opens Friday (September 27). For venues and times, see First-Run Movies, page 89. Rating: NNN