For anyone who has lost a loved one, Moonlight Mile
will ring true with heartfelt emotion. Like the characters in this well-acted film, writer-director Brad Silberling confronted death when his girlfriend, actress Rebecca Schaeffer, was murdered in 1989. That tragedy gives Moonlight Mile
its mournful authenticity, beginning in 1973 after the killing of a young woman whose fiancé, Joe (Jake Gyllenhaal), is living with her grieving parents (Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon) while contemplating his uncertain future. The film is occasionally sidetracked by Hollywood slickness, but Silberling (who scored box-office hits with Casper
and City of Angels
) gets the emotional details exactly right, and a potentially formulaic romance between Joe and a local girl (superbly played by newcomer Ellen Pompeo) feels like a natural step toward recovery. Holly Hunter plays a small but pivotal role, and while Moonlight Mile
lacks the gravity of the dramatically similar In the Bedroom
, it springs from the same source of compassionate understanding. --Jeff Shannon
Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon star in this story based on real events in director/screenwriter Brad Silberling's life. Whilst grieving for their murdered daughter, JoJo (Sarandon) and Ben (Hoffman) take in her fiance Joe Nast (Jake Gyllenhaal), who is distraught trying to cancel all the wedding arrangements. As he begins to establish a strong relationship with his late finacee's parents he also begins a relationship with Birdie (Ellen Pompeo), who has recently lost her fiance. Joe then has to decide how he can reconcile his role as the perfect grieving fiance with someone beginning a new life.