Moonlight Mile

Directed by Brad Silberling

> > Apr 2003

Moonlight Mile - Directed by Brad Silberling
By Stuart GreenBoasting an impressive cast, including three Oscar winners, Moonlight Mile arrives with lofty expectations; expectations it has no trouble surpassing. The retro-tinged (it's set in the '70s) bitter-sweet romantic dramedy is a refreshingly honest and moving portrait of heartache and sacrifice. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Joe Nast, a downcast 20-something whose fiancée is gunned down when she's caught in the middle of a domestic disturbance. Joe moves in with her parents, Ben (Dustin Hoffman) and Jojo (Susan Sarandon), to live the life that he intended to pursue after the wedding — that of a commercial real-estate broker working with Ben. But the union isn't working. Not just because business isn't great, but because Joe's heart isn't in it; he's harbouring a secret that's eating him up inside. To make matters more complicated, Joe meets and begins to fall for a local postal clerk (Ellen Pompeo) who's a kindred spirit in the lost love department. The complexities of the script and subtleties of human emotion are all captured brilliantly by writer/director Brad Silberling (Casper). On the DVD's 20-minute "making of" documentary and the two commentary tracks (Silberling solo and again with Gyllenhaal and Hoffman) we get an idea as to how the real-life murder of his former girlfriend, actress Rebecca Schaeffer, affected and inspired the script. Gyllenhaal, last seen as the younger love interest of Jennifer Aniston in The Good Girl, portrays Joe perfectly as an emotional zombie who has a million things going through his mind yet can't articulate a single one. But the real gem is Pompeo. She conveys more with a timid smile and glassy eyes than some actors do in pages of dialogue. Stardom is made of performances like this. Moonlight Mile is a gorgeously shot, impeccably acted, smartly-written slice of life film that reminds us it's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. Extras: Making of featurette; deleted scenes with director commentary; two commentary tracks. (Buena Vista)
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