|Index||7 reviews in total|
Maybe I'm just a sucker for white sands and blue water, even more of a
sucker for sweet stories, but I loved this movie. Yes, I could get
critical, but then I could be critical about just about every movie
I've ever seen. Bottom line is, I loved this movie, I like Terri Garr,
I like Gene Hackman, and I found nothing bad about this movie. I like
romantic movies, and this was certainly that.
Gene made a believable everyman buried in sadness about the loss of his wife, while Terri was her usual professional self, playing a woman in love with him but unable to break through his shell. Burgess Meridith, during his life, made a career out of playing crusty characters, and this one was no exception. I only tried this film an someone else's recommendation, and it turned out to be a good one.
The loss of a loved one, especially a spouse or a child, can be devastating
on the one left behind; and without some kind of closure, that same love,
combined with the loss, can lead to an unhealthy obsession in which the
object of that devotion can emerge as something so perfect that none among
the living could ever hope to measure up to it. And it's just such a
situation that is explored by director Peter Masterson in `Full Moon In Blue
Water,' the story of a man who, even after many months, cannot come to terms
with the loss of his wife, and has, by clinging so vehemently to her memory,
effectively removed himself from the world of the living, despite the
efforts of others who are close to him and depend upon him, including the
woman who would love him-- if only he would give her the
Floyd (Gene Hackman) is the owner of the Blue Water Grill, situated on the coast of the Texas Gulf in the small town of Blue Water. He's made a living at it since ending a stint as a merchant marine, and it's pretty much all he knows. And for a time, when he shared it all with his beloved Dorothy (Becky Ann Baker), it was the perfect life. But it all ended when Dorothy disappeared one day out on the gulf, and was presumed drowned; a tragedy from which Floyd has never recovered. Now he spends his days watching home movies of his wife, reliving the moments they shared, which become even more perfect with every day that passes, and with each additional viewing. He's let his business slide, and doesn't realize-- or perhaps just doesn't care-- what a dangerous, downward spiral he's on.
Floyd may be content wallowing in his discontent and misery, but there are those who need him and love him, and refuse to give up on him: His invalid father-in-law, The General (Burgess Meredith), would be lost without Floyd, as would Jimmy (Elias Koteas), the simpleton Floyd provides with a living by employing him for odd jobs around the restaurant, and as a companion for The General. But most especially, there's Louise (Teri Garr), a woman who cares deeply for Floyd, but just can't get through to him-- she simply can't live up to the image of perfection Floyd holds in his mind of Dorothy. But there's something else troubling Louise, too. She knows that real estate broker Charlie O'Donnell (Kevin Cooney) has made an offer to buy Floyd's place, and for a sum that's half of what it's worth. And in his diminished mental state, Floyd may be about to make one of the biggest mistakes of his life; Louise, however, is determined to avert it from happening. If only she can get through to Floyd in time; if only she can break through that wall of Dorothy's memory.
Masterson delivers his story in a straightforward manner, without attempting any frills, tricks or exaggerations in an effort to heighten the drama. He simply gives you a story that is what it is; a look at the twists and turns life can take, and how when something happens to one it affects, not only that person, but those around him, and in turn, those around them. Subtly, but very definitely, it underscores the symbiotic nature of mankind and succinctly drives home the point that, indeed, no man is an island. As this film so aptly demonstrates, whether we choose to believe it or not, there is no such thing as absolute autonomy. Somewhere along the line, directly or indirectly, the behavior of one is going to have an effect on someone else. It's the underlying message of this film, and it's presented quite effectively by Masterson, although his approach is a bit too academic, perhaps. Human emotion forms the core of the story, and yet the film is not as emotionally involving as it could-- or should-- be. Masterson manages to maintain interest, but without that hook that would have really engaged his audience. Still, it's a good job, the film is well delivered and offers a satisfying experience, albeit one that could have been much more.
As Floyd, Hackman gives a solid performance, creating a character that is believable and real. He gets neither too maudlin nor morbid with his portrayal, even in the depths of his depression, which tells us something about who Floyd really is: a guy who feels deeply, but is capable of bouncing back. Hackman makes him someone with whom you can empathize, but without getting too close. Everyone will be able to relate to Floyd on some level, inasmuch as loss is something we all have to deal with at one time or another, though that sense of identity is more of an inherent aspect of the story rather than due to anything that Hackman brings to it. It's Hackman's expertise, however, that maintains the film's credibility and makes that sense of identity accessible. And that's why Hackman's a star; he makes what he does convincing, as he does here, with a performance that is, in it's simplicity, natural and affecting.
Teri Garr is effective, as well, turning in a sympathetic performance through which she successfully conveys, not only her love and concern for Floyd, but her frustrations in coping with the intangible and impenetrable image of Dorothy that Floyd has created in his mind. Garr is entirely convincing as Louise, lending her a blue-collar charm that she sells with her natural, charismatic screen presence.
It's the supporting efforts by Koteas and Meredith that really makes this film click, however. Koteas finds just the right tone and shadings to make the hapless Jimmy convincing, and Meredith is a delight as the lovable old curmudgeon embraced by Floyd, in that he is his last link to Dorothy. `Full Moon In Blue Water,' then, is a meditation on life; and one that's definitely worth a look. I rate this one 7/10.
Full Moon Over Blue Water is a character-driven narrative about Floyd
Hackman), a middle-aged man whose life is decaying at the same rate as the
rundown bar he owns in Blue Water, on the Texas coastline of the Gulf of
Mexico. Floyd spends his days watching home movies of Dorothy, indulging
exaggerated longing for a wife who's gone missing, while those around him,
whose lives are inextricably tied to his, try to carry on in his cerebral
Louise(Terri Garr), his girlfriend, wants marriage and has ambitions to
revive the flagging stocks of the Bluewater Bar. The General(Burgess
Meredith), his crippled and irascible father-in-law, in need of Floyd's
continuing care, understands in his own way that his daughter is dead and
that Floyd should move on. Jimmy(Elias Koteas), an erstwhile employee, of
limited intelligence and recently released from an asylum, craves Floyd's
approval and interest to remain stable and out of harm's way. All need
Floyd's participation in their lives to function in a civilised and
There are one or two subplots along the way, but, in essence, this is the
story of four people trying to bring meaning and dignity to their lives
of the conflict that Floyd's sense of hopelessness has
The resolution of their problems seems to go off the rails a bit near the
end, but there is something appealing about this meditation on life that I
liked, in spite of generally being dismissed by the critics, and I would
recommend it to anyone who can set their cinematic sights outside
blockbusters and complicated thrillers.
A wonderful little movie that got overlooked in the distribution mill at the time of its release, "Full Moon in Blue Water" is overdue for rediscovery. It has so many parallels to "Moonstruck" that one could mistakenly peg it as a copycat, but guess again: "Full Moon" was completed before "Moonstruck" was ready for previews; the similarities are merely coincidental; and there's no need to choose between the two, when both films are so easy to love. Gene Hackman leads as Floyd, the owner of a rambling, cozy restaurant-shack on the Gulf Coast of Alabama: he's a man emotionally stalled by the disappearance of his beloved wife. She disappeared while swimming and everyone presumes her dead, but Floyd can't accept this; he believes she was drawn away by an undertow and struck her head: that she's wandering now with amnesia but someday will return to him. Business is dwindling at the shack, but he refuses all offers to buy him out: he's keeping the place for Dorothy to come home to. In the meantime Louise (Teri Garr) keeps him company, and wants more, a real commitment from him - her frustration is touching and funny. She can argue down all of his high-flown romantic notions, and his practical objections too, but when he remembers his loss he grows wistful and drifts away where she can't reach him. Their sad-tinged love affair is played out with screwball logic. It's Jimmy (Elias Koteas), a mildly retarded young man who sweeps up around the shack and cares for Floyd's in-and-out senile father (Burgess Meredith), who twists the screw to its tightest, by doing something so ghastly - something that would be absurdly funny if it weren't too appalling for laughter - and then tops even that by springing the worst possible plan to resolve matters, at the worst possible moment. "Full Moon in Blue Water" takes a kidding approach to the "magic" of romance, but on some level believes in it too; that it's able to keep both attitudes in play at the same time may be the best of what it shares with "Moonstruck." Its special distinctions are worth discovering.
Gene Hackman plays a middle aged bar owner, whose wives gone missing and is presumed dead.But he refuses to accept that,so he lays in bed all day, ignoring the world around him.While watching old home movies of him and he's wife. I guess they want you to feel sorry for him,laying there while everything fall to pieces around him. But I just found him pathetic.He let down the people around him, while he lays in bed feeling sorry for himself. There are some subplots about a bridge getting built.But they never really explore that. The sad part is,that could have made the movie more interesting. But alas no,they continue with the boring gene hackman feeling sorry for him self story
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Full Moon In Blue Water is not a film that gets mentioned much in the
filmography of Gene Hackman (nor Teri Garr and Burgess Meredith for
that matter). This forgotten and forgettable drama is very much a
character piece, the kind of slow-burning story that actors love to be
involved in but audiences more often than not find tedious. In this
one, all the main actors seem to be very much "into" their roles but
the viewer doesn't really get the chance to feel quite so absorbed and
involved in the story or the characters.
Ex-merchant marine Floyd (Gene Hackman) owns a restaurant in coastal Texas called the Blue Water Grill. About a year before the story begins, Floyd's wife Dorothy (Becky Ann Baker) goes missing out in the bay and is presumed dead. But without a corpse to give him the sense of closure he so desperately craves Floyd spends his days pining for her, clinging to old home movies and photographs in the forlorn hope that she may return. As the weeks drift by, his life and his business begin to collapse around him but he is so wrapped up in depression and fading memories that he barely notices. Worse still is the way that Floyd distances himself from three people in his life who genuinely need him. First there's simple-minded odd-job man Jimmy (Elias Koteas) who does occasional repair work around the restaurant. Then there's the senile old father-in-law The General (Burgess Meredith), a crusty invalid who needs constant supervision and company. Thirdly, there's local gal Louise (Teri Garr) who would willingly be Floyd's new love if she could just get him to let go of the unhealthy obsession he has with his missing wife. Louise also knows that a local property developer is about to make a ridiculously cheap bid for Floyd's restaurant, and that in his state of melancholy he might just give away everything for which he has worked for a fraction of its value.
Meredith gives the most memorable performance in the film, etching a funny but believable portrayal as the demented old-timer. Hackman is solid too, although crucially his character too often acts in a manner that lacks credibility. Earlier reviewers have noted that there is something false about the way he allows things to fall apart. Could he really be so besotted with the memory of a lost wife that he would let a business they set up together go to ruin? With her father still alive and dependant upon him for care and companionship, would he really act so distant? And with a beautiful woman like Garr literally offering herself on a plate, wouldn't he at the very least give this new relationship a go? For me, these are the flaws in character development that make Full Moon In Blue Water less engrossing than it should be. It's great to see films that are prepared to do away with action and special effects and high melodrama, but when a film is as character-driven as this one it needs characters that are credible and identifiable. Full Moon In Blue Water comes unstuck because on the one hand we can all relate to Floyd's predicament but on the other it's almost impossible to relate to his self-indulgent reaction to it. A watchable movie, then, but not really as fulfilling as it might have been.
Lately I've been on a Gene Hackman 1980's kick. Hoosiers, many folks
think is the best portrayal of a sports coach, maybe the best sports
film ever made. Twice in a Lifetime is a middle-aged love story of
betrayal in a blue-collar family and it ranks up there as the best of
Hackman's work. Then there is a less successful film, Full Moon in Blue
No one in the movies in the last thirty years portrays the middle-age everyman, the tough, and hard working, Joe like Hackman. He's certainly not a romantic idol, but he is manly enough to woe Ann Margaret in Once in a Lifetime and Teri Garr in Water. In addition, Garr is very good as a faded honky-tonk town girl with widower, Hackman in her sights. The trouble, Hack is still in love with his missing spouse. He spends most of his days watching old home movies of the lost wife while his saloon business goes to pieces. Also, he must deal with a stroke victim, the father-in-law, Burgesss Meredith, the quintessential old coot.
Somehow the viewer will not believe that a capable character like Hack would let a business go to sleazy Real Estate snakes without a bar brawl. The idea that Hack would moon about the ex for a year while busty Garr is all over him; well, it doesn't add up.
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