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A Walk on the Moon

Released: 1999

Genre: Romance

Runtime: 1 hr 45 min

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Tony Goldwyn

Starring: Diane Lane, Viggo Mortensen, Anna Paquin, Liev Schreiber

The movie, which was set against the backdrop of the Woodstock rock festival of 1969 and the moon landing of that year, was distributed by Miramax Films.

The well cast movie is glacially paced as if it were in some sort of trance.

Review by: SteveRhodes

Added: 8 years ago

Because of an accidental pregnancy, Pearl Kantrowitz (Diane Lane) had to get married at about the same age as her 14-year-old daughter, Alison, and Pearl has always resented the loss of her youth and freedom. "Do you feel trapped in your life," Pearl asks one of her women friends rhetorically. "Oh sure," her friend replies hopelessly. Alison, played by Academy Award winner Anna Paquin, is having her own problems, going through the substantial changes of adolescence, having her first period one day and her first date the next.

A WALK ON THE MOON, actor Tony Goldwyn's directorial debut, takes place at a low-budget Jewish resort in the Catskills -- think DIRTY DANCING but set in cheap cabins and without any dancing. ("How can you not love it here -- an army barracks with lawn furniture," the stand up comedian describes their "resort" during his dinner act.) The time is the summer of 1969 and period events like the first walk on the moon and the Woodstock music festival get prominent placement in the storyline although the movie has little to do with either one.

The well cast movie is glacially paced as if it were in some sort of trance. Except for one completely predictable and brief bit of dramatic tension that occurs in the middle, the movie drifts along like a sailing ship lost in a placid sea without any wind to provide momentum. The actors, for all of their talent, never seem engaged. They are as lovely as models in a magazine but just as two-dimensional.

Pearl's husband (Liev Schreiber) only gets a few days off from his job as a TV repairman, so he leaves the family (his wife, son, daughter, and fortunetelling mother) alone in the Catskills while he goes back home to work. This provides just the opportunity that Pearl has subconsciously wanted to have that sexual fling she was denied through an early marriage.

One day, "The Blouse Man" steps into her life. Viggo Mortensen, with his animal magnetism, long flowing hair, and deep, penetrating eyes, plays a man who drives his old bus from one resort to another, selling blouses. After a couple of meetings, they are off having sex, movie style, under waterfalls as well as in slightly more conventional and believable places like in his bus.

Since Pearl does a laughably bad job of concealing her affair, she is quickly discovered, generating the obligatory series of confrontation scenes. "I'm the teenager, not you," her daughter scolds her when she finds out that Mom's been cheating on Dad. "You had your chance." "No, I didn't," Pearl complains.

Since the film is almost devoid of dramatic tension, it could have used some humor to give it some spark of energy. The only even barely funny scene, however, occurs when some hippies decide to skinny dip in the resort's lake. This scandalizes the guests, who grab their children and run away with them lest the kids see some naked bodies.

"It's true," Pearl's husband finally admits. "I'm a bad listener. I'm not a very good talker either." Regretfully, such insightful lines like these rarely occur in A WALK ON THE MOON. Instead, the movie just limps along until it runs out the clock, having never accomplished anything. The only memorable parts of the movie are a few good Woodstock songs, but you probably already know them anyway.

A WALK ON THE MOON runs 1:45 but feels longer. It is rated R for sex, nudity, profanity and drug usage and would be fine for older teenagers.