What You Need To Know:
Set in 1973, MOONLIGHT MILE is a drama about the grieving process. Jake Gyllenhaal (pronounced “Jill-in-hall”) stars as Joe Nast, a young man who finds himself mourning the tragic loss of his fiancé with her parents, played smartly by Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon. As Ben, the father, tries to get Jope interested in starting a real estate business with him, Joe meets a pretty, but quirky, female postal worker, Bertie, played by newcomer Ellen Pompeo. Complicating matters even further is that Joe has a personal secret about his relationship with the dead bride that he hasn’t had the heart to tell her parents.
The acting in MOONLIGHT MILE is excellent. Although there are some poignant, compelling moments, however, the movie doesn’t really tell us much of anything about the poor murdered young girl, until the very end. Also, the movie follows both Joe’s relationship with Ben and JoJo, as well as his secret relationship with Bertie. Thus, it lacks a clear, linear plot. Finally, despite a theme about the moral need for truth in relationships, the movie has a humanist worldview, which dilutes the movie’s artistic power, as well as its moral, psychological and spiritual dimensions
(HH, B, Acap, LLL, S, N, A, D, M) Humanist worldview with a moral defense of truth in a couple scenes; some anti-capitalist elements regarding Wal-Mart type stores versus small local businesses; 36 obscenities (including a couple “f” words), 10 strong profanities and 14 mild profanities; implied fornication; upper male nudity and some cleavage but no salacious nudity; alcohol use; smoking; and, hiding the truth is ultimately rebuked.
Set in 1973, MOONLIGHT MILE is a drama about the grieving process starring several veteran actors and a couple rising young stars. Regrettably, the movie takes an essentially secular humanist attitude about its subject matter, which dilutes its artistic power as well as its moral, philosophical, psychological, and spiritual power.
Jake Gyllenhaal (pronounced “Jill-in-hall”) stars as Joe Nast, a young man who finds himself mourning the tragic loss of his fiancé with her parents, played smartly by Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon. The father, Ben, is in a state of denial. He spends his days planning a real estate business for him and Joe. The mother, JoJo, is depressed, but tries to get her husband to focus on other things besides business, including the business of funeral arrangements.
As the three of them meet with the prosecutor who’s trying the case against the daughter’s murderer, Joe meets a pretty, but quirky, female postal worker, Bertie, played by newcomer Ellen Pompeo. Bertie is also in a kind of limbo. Her boyfriend is missing in action in Vietnam. It turns out that her boyfriend owns the bar that Ben is trying to buy in the first real estate deal involving he and Joe. Complicating matters even further is that Joe has a personal secret about his relationship with the dead bride that he hasn’t had the heart to tell her parents.
MOONLIGHT MILE starts with Ben telling the rabbi for the funeral not to mention God, that his daughter wouldn’t want him to do that. Thus, the story in this movie is cast in a humanist framework. This God-less offers little for the average moviegoer and gets in the way of fully sympathizing with the characters in the story. Another problem is the fact that, beyond her rejection of God, the movie reveals little if anything about the poor dead woman, who was cut down in the prime of life. Thus, the movie doesn’t help viewers fully connect with the depth of the loss that Joe, Ben and JoJo are undergoing.
The other problem with MOONLIGHT MILE is that it not only tells the story of how Joe, Ben and JoJo cope with the loss of the bride/daughter, it also tells the story of Joe and Bertie’s budding romance. Thus, the story does not have a clear, linear plot, but the plot also isn’t quirky, dramatic or funny enough to overcome this deficiency and hold a viewer’s complete interest.
The acting in MOONLIGHT MILE is excellent, however. Furthermore, Joe finally has a really deep, compelling, poignant moment when he has to testify at the alleged murderer’s hearing. That scene focuses the story on one of the main themes in the movie, the need for being truthful in human interactions. The movie could have used more scenes like that one.
Of course, the need for truth is an important message in Christianity. That messages originates from such biblical passages as 1 Cor. 13:6, which states, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”
Despite its acknowledgment of truth at the end, the humanist worldview of MOONLIGHT MILE will never supply an adequate explanation for truth, or why, as Jesus says, the truth always sets us free. Only the existence of God and God’s Word can provide that solid foundation. Why? Because truth is a transcendent, non-physical, unchangeable, omnipresent reality that can only be apprehended by personal beings, r creatures with a personality. Thus, only a personal, transcendent, non-physical, unchangeable, omnipresent God can account for the existence of truth. Also, since the Bible is the only foundational religious text which clams that this personal God made mankind in His image, it is the only religious text which provides a reasonable basis for believing A) People can know what the truth is and B) Truth matters. But, that is exactly what this movie is trying to say, so it makes no sense for the filmmakers to relegate God to the outer limits of human existence.
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