In life, if a person lives long enough, they’re bound to experience several things, including romance. And when it comes to romance, there are several subgenres: falling in love, breaking up, and grieving the lose of a lover. Very rarely do people get to experience more than one of these at the same time, but in this quiet and slow-paced romantic drama, one young man does.
Joe Nast (Jake Gyllenhaal) is mourning the death of his recently murdered fiancée, Diana (Careena Melia) in her hometown of Cape Ann, Massachusetts, where the two of them had gone to plan the wedding with her parents, Ben and Jojo (Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon). Joe stays in Diana’s home to grieve with her parents and when he goes to retrieve the recently mailed wedding invitations at the post office, he meets Bertie (Ellen Pompeo), a clerk there.
Ben and Jojo love Joe dearly and are the best would-be in-laws that a person could possibly ask for. They seen Joe, the significant other of their deceased only child, as the son they never had, but Joe soon finds himself falling for Bertie, who is also grieving a lover, for entirely different reasons. The two understand one another in a way that no one else around them can. But Joe has been holding back a secret which could potentially shatter the strong bond that he’s built with Ben and Jojo.
Moonlight Mile is a simple story about a complex situation, and this, along with the excellent 70s rock soundtrack to set the mood of the film’s decade, is what makes it so moving. It’s an extraordinary, yet entirely realistic set of circumstance occurring to perfectly ordinary people who are just trying their best to get by. In hushed voices, body language, and eye contact, we experience a range of emotions. As Joe tries to juggle and prioritize his deep sorrow with his burgeoning love, Moonlight Mile beautifully showcases the strength of the families that we can create for ourselves.
I give this one 4.5 stars.