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WALK ON THE MOON

SYNOPSIS:
The year is 1969, at the time of the first Lunar landing. Pearl Kranowitz (Diane Lane), her TV-repairman husband Marty (Liev Schreiber), two kids and mother-in-law spend the summer at a bungalow in a New York Catskills Jewish resort. Pearl, feeling cheated of her dreams -- and unconsciously spurred on by the emerging womanhood of her adolescent daughter Alison (Anna Paquin) -- begins an affair with travelling blouse salesman Walker Jerome (Viggo Mortensen), a charming and seductive hippie whose compliments make even the old grannies on vacation feel sexy.

"Walk on the Moon is a stunning debut for both director Tony Goldwyn, and scriptwriter Pamela Gray, with an observant, witty and poignant script that captures the emotions and the setting. Great detail is taken to paint a picture, rich in textures and colours, of not only the characters, but also the era, when flower power was at its height and the sexual revolution was in full train. We share family chaos - a loving close-knit family, who laugh and cry together. The holiday routine is clear: husband works, wife looks after children and waits for husband to return. But there is enough time for her to feel cheated, dissatisfied, lonely. And then a handsome stranger comes by… The performances are naturalistic, unselfconscious and truly superb - Diane Lane stunning as the repressed wife, Viggo Mortensen, seductive, while Live Schreiber's Marty, the husband whose priority is being just that, is outstanding. Schreiber's performance is understated, controlled and very moving. In these days of early maturity and glamour, it's refreshing to see a teenager actually look like a teenager - Anna Paquin's performance combines youthful enthusiasm with a vulnerability that sets her apart. Tovah Feldshuh is marvellous as the knowing, jewish grandmother; this is a character that is 100% complete. We can see much of ourselves in this story. It hasn't been simplified Hollywood style. The emotions are real, as are the responses. Relationships are the most precious assets we have. . .as extraordinary as the impossible, like walking on the moon! Romantic, passionate, funny and moving, A Walk on the Moon is a wondrous journey with priorities and dreams are the fuel. Buckle up - it's worth the trip."
Louise Keller

"I agree with Louise, and certainly the performances; Lane, Schreiber, Mortensen, Feldshuh and Paquin are all superb here, clearly at ease in Goldwyn's directorial hands. Schreiber gets to stretch creatively in a role that combines the difficulty of being an 'ordinary' husband and father with a depth of emotion when his wife opens the door of their relationship and steps outside . . . But this is also where I question the premise Pamela Gray pushes in the script: Pearl ends up not so much 'discovering' herself as 'deluding' herself, when she consummates the affair with Walker. While I completely understand the character's need and longing for something that she feels she missed as a teenager who got hitched too early (for the age old reason), the end result (which I won't divulge) seems a bit of a let off, albeit brilliantly crafted and acted. This reservation aside, the film is genuinely engaging and works well as romantic drama, and a study of a family unit, from grandma to granddaughter. Observant and often funny, A Walk on the Moon is full of the writer's imagery: the moon as a symbol of our dreams; the juxtaposition of man's space conquest with our more earthly adventures; and the poignant moment when Armstrong lands, but Pearl's priorities have suddenly shifted, and man's first moon landing loses its importance in favour of what ultimately has greater personal impact for her. Indeed, for all of us."
Andrew L. Urban

"According to Hollywood, the '60s were a national rite of passage - the moment when America threw off its inhibitions and 'came of age.' A bit awkwardly, A Walk On The Moon replays this myth as both an old-fashioned romance and an ethnic comedy of clashing cultures. The film gets a lot of mileage out of its Jewish milieu, depicted as slightly grotesque - ageing women in too much makeup, sitting around plastic tables smoking nonstop and squawking to each other in New York accents. The new cool style, by contrast, is personified by the blond hunk Pearl falls for, a laid-back post-hippie cowboy. There are obvious problems with this version of history, and the film could have been a lot more interesting if their love affair were less idealised - if it were realistically clumsy and desperate, rather than a corny idyll with the couple frolicking naked by a waterfall. It would have helped, too, if we were shown more of Woodstock than just some standard shots of crowds swaying in ecstasy. In general, you get the impression that the filmmakers know a lot about Jewish holiday camps, but not that much about hippies. Still, there's plenty of rich material here, and some messy, unresolvable emotions do come across. Anna Paquin goes over-the-top at times but has a convincing rawness, and Liev Schreiber has some great moments in the second half of the film (reacting blankly to his wife's infidelity, and later doing some jerky, sarcastic dancing to a Bob Dylan record). But the too-conventional script tends to spell everything out in block letters ('I'm the teenager, not you!' yells Anna Paquin, as if we couldn't see the irony for ourselves), falling back on cliches whenever things get complicated."
Jake Wilson



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

WALK ON THE MOON (M)
(US)

CAST: Diane Lane, Liev Schreiber, Viggo Moretensen, Anna Paquin, Tovah Feldshuh

DIRECTOR: Tony Goldwyn

PRODUCER:

SCRIPT: Pamela Gray

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Anthony Richmond

EDITOR: Dana Congdon

MUSIC: Mason Daring

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Dan Leigh

RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: May 23, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR:Roadshow Home Entertainment







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