Moonlight Mile
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     It seems like every movie opening this fall has starred Susan Sarandon (The Banger Sisters, Igby Goes Down) or Jake Gyllenhaal (Lovely & Amazing, The Good Girl).  Moonlight Mile has them both!  It is sort of the flip side of last year's, In The Bedroom.  In that movie, a family living in a small New England town suffers a horrible loss when their son is murdered. After the son is murdered, his parents blame his girlfriend for it.  In Moonlight Mile, a family living in a small New England town suffers a horrible loss when their daughter is murdered. After the daughter is murdered, her parents (Dustin Hoffman & Susan Sarandon) don't blame her fiancé (Jake Gyllenhaal), but rather, adopt him into their family. As with In The Bedroom, the people left behind are dealing with their pent up anger and frustration.  I am so clueless that I didn't realize until halfway through the movie that Moonlight Mile is set in the '70's.  OK, the cars seemed a bit old and I was wondering why all the phones had dials.

     Moonlight Mile is a very good movie.  It's worth going just to see Sarandon and Hoffman on the screen together. This is their first time acting together and they are a joy to watch. Some people would be intimidated by having to act with two such heavyweights but Gyllenhaal is definitely up to it. He has already shown that he can handle both romantic comedy and drama.  The big surprise is newcomer Ellen Pompeo playing a young woman that Gyllenhaal meets who also has had a great loss in her life. This is almost her first movie and she already shows signs of being the next ``it" girl.  Holly Hunter has a small role as the District Attorney who is trying the murder case. She is good but it's a nothing role.  She has made some great movies (Raising Arizona, Broadcast News, The Piano) but she doesn't  seem to be getting any good parts these days.

       I think I enjoyed Moonlight Mile more than In The Bedroom.  In the new movie, the grieving parents try to replace their daughter with Gyllenhaal and so delay the inevitable need to deal with the loss.  Gyllenhaal is very cute as he tries to fit in with his "new" family while trying to deal with the loss of his fiancee.  Of course, eventually, he and the parents have to deal with it and get on with their lives.  In this Moonlight Mile is much more upbeat than In The Bedroom.  The writer/director is Brad Silberling who has many TV directing credits but is directing his first feature.  He does a great job considering he has three Oscar winners to deal with including the famously fussy Hoffman.  It's definitely Hoffman's best film in a long time. He hasn't even made a movie in four years.  Hoffman and Sarandon have an amazing chemistry.  You'll really believe they've been married for 25 years.  Gyllenhaal and Pompeo also start a few chemical reactions.  Moonlight Mile will be getting some Oscar nominations and it deserves it.