Serious Moonlight

Written before her untimely death in 2006, Adrienne Shelly’s screenplay, Serious Moonlight, was translated to the big screen by director Cheryl Hines.  The two women had previously worked together on Shelly’s film, Waitress.

“Moonlight” tells the story of Louise (Meg Ryan), an attorney who learns that her husband has been having an affair.  Determined to make Ian (Timothy Hutton) see the error of his ways, she restrains him and vows not to let him go until he loves her again.

Ian’s mistress is a much younger woman named Sara (Kristen Bell).  He is confident in his feeling for her and even intends on taking a romantic trip to Paris with her just as soon as his wife frees him from the duct tape.  While trying to get his point across, he tells Louise that he doesn’t love her anymore and even strikes a low blow by telling his wife of eleven years that she’s ugly.

After a close call that almost resulted in Ian getting away, Louise decides to run to the store to get ingredients for a special dinner.  While away, the house is broken into to by Todd (Justin Long).  He sees Ian, in all his taped up glory, and laughs.  He proceeds to trash the house and take all the expensive items. 

Louise gets home from the store to see a new guest in her house and she ends up in a similar situation to her husband.  After seeing his wife manhandled, Ian’s feeling begin to creep back and he must decide whether to fix the past or move on with his future. 

This small budget movie wasn’t great.  It didn’t have the same likability and emotion of Shelly’s other film.  The entire movie takes place in basically one of two locations and it becomes a bit redundant.  Sadly, the movie was driven more by story than by the characters.  It wasn’t difficult to pick up on the directions the movie was taking and that was a disappointment.

I did think that Ryan looked really good in this film, but her character was a little too whiney for my liking.  Hutton’s character turned me off at first, but as the film progressed and he showed more layers, he started to grow on me.  I think Hutton is a brilliant actor, so it was a pleasant sight to watch him.  As I watched him, I kept thinking that he’s like an older version of Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  They have a striking resemblance and are both phenomenal talents.

This film was shot in 15 days and was Hines’ feature film directorial debut.  Definitely a crash course in filmmaking, but it was a respectable outing.  The last scene of movie leaves the viewer questioning certain relationships and as I watched it, I felt like saying, “I knew it.”  Although I took it one way, I suppose it’s possible to be taken another way as well.

I had hoped for more from this film.  Regardless of the outcome of the film, it’s nice to see that there are still people who believe in Shelly’s work even post-mortem.

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