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Joe Nast’s life takes an unexpected turn when he tragically loses his fiancée. All fate falls on Joe as he must deal with the grief, the responsibility of change, an intense trial, and the expectations of his to be parents-in-law.
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Brad Silberling (City of Angels, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events) wrote and directed this lovely heart-warming tale. This story was based on an experience that Silberling himself encountered in real life. There is a real personal and intimate feel to the film which makes it stand out from a fair amount of other Dramas.
The film opens on the day of the funeral. Joe Nast (Gyllenhaal) just lost his fiancée. Ben (Hoffman) and JoJo (Sarandon) Floss have just lost their daughter. It’s morning and the house is overwhelmed with the constant ringing of the phone. Ben hovers around in a somewhat controlled state of mind, managing the constant calls of condolences calmly. Joe makes himself helpful in the kitchen while JoJo is ready just in time to leave. The three of them may be dealing with the situation each in their own way but it’s clear to see they’re a close and loving family.
Joe’s plan was to leave soon after the funeral but when Ben invites Joe into his business and the trial starts to evolve into something much more complex, he finds himself staying much longer than he anticipated. Joe wants to be the better man, he doesn’t want to hurt or disappoint anybody. But the harder he tries to play the perfect fiancé the more vulnerable he becomes. Joe finds solace in Bertie (Pompeo), a local girl in town. Bertie’s been living the last few years in denial and is in desperate need to find the light. Their lost and vulnerable situations bring them closer together and soon an unforeseen romance starts to bloom.
It’s hard to let someone go and it’s hard to see someone move on. Joe, Ben and JoJo have to let go, they must forgive each other and they must live on. Their emotions are tested, their characters questioned but they all finally find themselves heading down the right path.
You couldn’t ask for a better cast - Susan Sarandon, Dustin Hoffman, and Holly Hunter are all Academy Award winners. Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko) is a fantastic up-and-coming actor. These actors are some of my absolute favourites and I couldn’t ask for anything better than having my top cast in a witty, heart-felt drama like this one. Together they create a film with presence and emotion.
What’s spectacular is when you discover the contradicting gems in our everyday lives. The tragedy’s where you can still find a smile. The comedy’s where you can still shed a tear. These emotions are captured on a daily basis and they are real. I find that Moonlight Mile executes these emotions so well on screen and it’s a real pleasure to watch. This film won Best Director and Best Cinematography, and was nominated for five other categories. The screenwriter was nominated, and rightly so. Taken from a short story that first appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in 1933 by Maurice Walsh, Green Rushes, Frank Nugent was able to weave a story rich in subtext and conflict.
The collector’s edition of the DVD includes an interview with Maureen O’Hara where she reminisces about filming The Quiet Man, and is well worth watching.