Release Date: April 19, 1991
Runtime: Approximately 100 minutes
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
Director: Alan Rudolph
Producer: John Fiedler & Mark Tarlov
Writer: Claude Kerven & William Reilly
Address Comments To:Peter Guber
Burbank, CA 91505.
In Bayonne, New Jersey, hairdresser Joyce and her friend, Cynthia, leave for a night on the town at a local casino and carnival. The women are suddenly startled by Joyce's husband, Jimmy, jumping up in the back of their van, much to their chagrin. It's obvious there's no love lost between Joyce and Jimmy. Then, sometime after going their separate ways at the carnival and returning to the van, the women discover Jimmy's dead body. To protect themselves, the women dump the body in the lake.
After Jimmy's body washes ashore, Joyce weeps, appearing grief-stricken while she reclines under a picture of "The Last Supper," then hangs a wreath on the beauty shop door: "Closed on account of death in family." So much for her sense of propriety. The women, however, stick together in their stories: Jimmy was murdered and robbed by an unknown assailant.
Later, under questioning, Cynthia insists that Joyce killed Jimmy in self-defense. Through flashback and an interrogation technique, the film uncovers other facets of the murder not readily apparent.
During the subsequent investigation, the women confront the darker side of friendship and morality. Paranoid Joyce gets concerned about "someone talking," in particular, Cynthia's husband Arthur, and his possibly going to the police. Then, while Cynthia visits her parents, close to Christmas, Arthur is murdered.
Although MORTAL THOUGHTS is a fairly intriguing who-done-it and has a surprise ending, the pace sometimes slows due to the interrogator and flashback technique that causes the viewer to lose momentary interest. The film's premise, realized as the interrogator relentlessly questions Cynthia, is that the truth will ultimately emerge, and does. The distressing aspects of the film, however, are the women's deliberate, unconscionable lying to protect themselves at any cost, and the extremely foul language: the Lord's Name is taken in vain repeatedly.
Of course, the Bible strongly admonishes against both practices. As Revelation 21:8 warns, "All liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone," and the second commandment states: "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain" (Exodus 20:7).
Those who like murder mysteries and can get past the language and lying might enjoy MORTAL THOUGHTS, but beware this movie will not edify the viewer.