Moonlight Mile

2002

Moonlight Mile

Critics Consensus

Though the story feels rather contrived, Moonlight Mile is redeemed by the good performances of its cast.

63%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 150

66%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 10,290
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Movie Info

A family attempts to deal with the emotional impact of an unexpected loss in this emotional drama set in the early 1970s. Diana Floss (Careena Melia) is a woman in her early twenties who is only days away from marrying her boyfriend, Joe Nast (Jake Gyllenhaal), to the delight of her parents, Ben and Jo Jo (Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon). However, Diana finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time when an altercation breaks out in a diner, and she's murdered for no good reason. Ben and Jo Jo are devastated, and they both turn to Joe for comfort, treating him as a member of the family, with Ben offering him a job at his real estate firm and Jo Jo grateful for his company, despite her unflappable surface. Joe also finds himself needing comfort, and he becomes involved with Bertie (Ellen Pompeo), a woman who waits tables at a local watering hole owned by her boyfriend, who has been listed as Missing in Action in Vietnam for the past three years. However, as the wheels of justice slowly turn and the Floss' lawyer, Mona Camp (Holly Hunter), prepares Ben and Jo Jo for the upcoming murder trial, Joe is tortured by a guilty secret -- he and Diana had a falling out, and planned to call off the wedding shortly before her unexpected death. Moonlight Mile was written and directed by Brad Silberling, who has had his own experiences with death and grieving to draw from -- he was dating actress Rebecca Schaeffer when she was murdered by a stalker in 1989.

Cast

Dustin Hoffman
as Ben Floss
Susan Sarandon
as JoJo Floss
Ellen Pompeo
as Bertie Knox
Holly Hunter
as Mona Camp
Dabney Coleman
as Mike Mulcahey
Alan Corduner
as Stan Michaels
Allan Corduner
as Stan Michaels
Careena Melia
as Diana Floss
Mary Ellen Trainor
as Mrs. Meyerson
Richard Fancy
as Mr. Meyerson
Fatty
as Nixon, the Dog
Audrey Marie Anderson
as Audrey Anders
McNally Sagal
as Mrs. Tippet
Phil Reeves
as Mr. Don Tippet
Roxanne Hart
as June Mulcahey
Lisa Anne Hillman
as Jillian Mulcahey
Rachel Singer
as Rhonda Ketch
John Balma
as Walter Ketch
Bob Clendenin
as Server No. 1
Jim Fyfe
as Server No. 2
Lady
as Nixon, the Dog
Marcia Mitzman Gaven
as Fashion Plate
Gary Hetzler
as Speedwalker
Edward Lachman
as Photographer
Virginia Newcomb
as Cheryl's Friend No. 2
Michael Molly
as Fay Ray, the Cat
Elizabeth Janas
as Cheryl's Friend No. 3
Dee Nelson
as Waitress
Paul Perri
as Public Defender
Mark Lotito
as Diner Manager
Billy Percy
as Fay Ray, the Cat
David Wheeler
as Diner Grandfather
Alexandra Hoffman
as Diner Granddaughter
Earl Slick
as Fay Ray, the Cat
View All

Critic Reviews for Moonlight Mile

All Critics (150) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (95) | Rotten (55)

  • With a relentless playlist of rock stand-bys, the film careers between jaunty and maudlin.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Donnie Brighto is what they should have called this feeble, sucrose emotional drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

    Mar 25, 2003 | Full Review…
  • An honestly intimate and genuinely funny account of bereavement.

    Feb 18, 2003 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • An awfully good, achingly human picture.

    Nov 4, 2002 | Rating: A-
  • A combination of good story, nice moments and appealing texture.

    Oct 4, 2002
    Washington Post
    Top Critic
  • The film isn't very likable.

    Oct 4, 2002
    Washington Post
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Moonlight Mile

  • Apr 07, 2011
    In "Moonlight Mile" a middle aged couple (Dustin Hoffman as Ben and Susan Sarandon as Jo Jo), along with their prospective son-in-law Joe (Jake Gyllenhaal) attempt to come to terms with the sudden, senseless murder of their daughter Diane who was killed in a domestic dispute between two other people just three days before her wedding. Unbeknownst to Ben and Jo Jo, Joe and Diana had broken up, but Ben is so determined to keep him a part of the family that Joe feels compelled to stay. He decides to remain in town living with her parents to help them deal with their shock and grief. They also have to deal with the murder trial of the gunman, whose wife and his intended target awakens from her coma just as the trial is about to start. Joe struggles to move beyond the emotional and material expectations which his broken engagement has left him to fulfill, trying not to disappoint his would-be in-laws while at the same time wanting to embark on a new life and a new relationship with a woman he has recently met. Ellen Pompeo is also wonderful as Bertie, the mail clerk and part-time waitress who is no stranger to tragedy losing her own boyfriend as well. Her uncertainty about her future provides Joe some insight into his own psyche. Holly Hunter's plays the tough, single-minded prosecutor prosecuting the man who is responsible for Diane's death who needs Joe's help to bring Diane's murderer to justice.
    Deb S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 14, 2010
    Really a great movie in every respect. A very distinct visual style, unique story and an a perfect cast. The 70s atmosphere somehow fits perfectly into the plot, maybe because Jake Gyllenhaal's character emulates the generation almost exactly. The sense of loss is done well, it's not like every other movie where someone dies. This shows the true awkwardness that comes along with a funeral service, false attachment and mixed emotions. Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon play pretty different characters than they're used to, there's a very weak and childish way in how they act. This is a movie that is very particular in its message and it succeeds completely. It becomes such a powerful experience by the end.
    Conner R Super Reviewer
  • Jun 04, 2010
    <i>"In life and love, expect the unexpected."</i> As he copes with the death of his fiancee along with her parents, a young man must figure out what he wants out of life. <center><font size=+2 face="Century Schoolbook"><b><u>REVIEW</u></b></font></center> Strong acted and character driven drama about the aftermath of a family's sudden and violent loss of their beloved adult daughter and the bonding between them and her fiancé (Gyllenhaal effectively conveying awkward grievance) in a small New England hamlet circa 1973. Before starring in a hit drama medical show, Ellen Pompeo gives a nicely nuanced performance as a potential love interest/soul mate-in-waiting he meets. Hoffman and Sarandon are especially effective in their muted emotions that frequently spring freely into painful turmoil. Written and directed by Brad Silberling loosely based on his own true-life account in the tragic murder of his fiancée actress Rebecca Schaeffer.
    Lorenzo v Super Reviewer
  • Sep 20, 2009
    <a href="http://tinypic.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i30.tinypic.com/hs3ss6.jpg" border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic"></a> Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon were perfect in this movie, but even so they could not save this movie.This was an unrealistic drama romance with scenes that were so cliche. This movie was a waste of time. The court scenes were very unsatisfactory. I waited for an explanation for this eye contacts but there was nothing Jake Gyllenhaal performance was bad and he could not make his role believable. Some scenes were okay but most of them were very empty. I was disappointed.
    Daisy M Super Reviewer

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