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Reviews & Ratings for
Moonlight More at IMDbPro »

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant performance, other world tone

Author: rogermanning995 from United States
8 August 2008

Numerous American reviewers on this site reveal their limitations in their comments. A lot of what they criticize or complain about in this movie are things that take us deeper into the moment of the story that takes place in a different world than they're familiar with. I was also thrown off a bit, until I realized that this wasn't from the European world of film that I'm used to (France, Spain, Germany, Italy).

Larien (playing the main character) is brilliant. What the film does lack is over-played dumbed-down dialogue and over explanation. The settings nicely reinforce the various moods. The girl's coming of age theme is brilliantly played out with subtle and not so subtle devices.

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15 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

A next-generation Dutch production!

Author: Wouter from Nijmegen, Netherlands
6 October 2002

In my opinion the Dutch movie scene has been enormously enriched by Moonlight. Even without many words, director Paula van der Oest puts together a clear, interesting and compelling story. The acting of especially the very young Laurien van den Broeck was fantastic. Feelings and emotions come across the screen very convincingly.

But the editing, cinematography and art direction in this film really put it next to its American huge-budget brothers. In contrary to most previous Dutch productions, these aspects are incredibly professional, even comparable to i.e. 'The Sixth Sense' as to creating tension and atmosphere, and to 'Requiem for a Dream' as to editing.

I've seen the movie in Nijmegen, as part of a weekend-long review of the Dutch Movie Festival, and had the chance to attend a 'talkshow' with director Paula van der Oest as one of the guests. A great experience.

Foreign readers, please don't let yourself be scared off by the Dutch crew: not a Dutch word is spoken during the movie, set in Luxembourg. Main language is English. Dutch readers: absolutely go see this movie! It will show you the enormous progress of our very own filming scene.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Hold On!!

Author: Carlos Martinez Escalona from Mexico
26 April 2010

Even when what you will see is like a smorgasbord of usually very trodden plots, Moonshine is definitely one of those films that sticks like fly-paper to your senses and mind. The story -an impossible for American films, is all sounds and visuals. Dialogue is kept to the utmost minimum. So, the many usual attractive and not-so-convincing plots employed throughout the film, mesh up perfectly.

I'd like to point out how important it is to know what you're doing when using so many clichés already used by others: here, even when you know what will happen -somehow, at least, the captivating lack communication between the main rôles and the hyper-psychological use of sound with some of the most stunning visuals I've seen simply using light and lenses the way they should be used, do the part to have you riveted to your seat.

The inherent beauty of the two kids who play very adult rôles in this coming-of-age-per-force film make it even more palatable. The music is outstanding at making your nerves spike instantly or sharply contrast with the visuals. I'd use this film to teach a thing or two about "eye- lighting" and "the importance of the way how you tell a story instead of what you tell to convey it"... the virtual absence of dialogue may be one of the most amazing feats of this film. Two thumbs up!

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Hard work of whole team on alleviating the effect of baaaaad screenplay

Author: przgzr from Zagreb, Croatia
8 August 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's nice to find an European movie that takes some American basic ideas but develops it completely differently. It is typically American to mix crime/action and romantic story, but the ratio of the contents and the style of mixing doubtlessly shows it was made light years away. The movie starts with drug dealers who use a young Middle-East teenager to bring them new supplies. And very soon there is shooting, blood... almost American, but with almost no words, and this parsimony in dialogue persists during the whole movie.

But in the next scene we see a young girl coping alone with her first period. This scene is much longer (and rather slow) and we understand that the girl is a real hero of the movie. In few minutes her life will be disturbed and changed after meeting the boy from the first scene. Though we don't see her as loser (especially not compared to a boy) she obviously thinks the other way: she is adopted, her foster parents have more successful professional than parental careers, she lives in foreign country in very modern house but, due to noise of nearby airport, her parents are selling it, she doesn't seem to have friends... so she immediately finds herself in charge of his fate. The rest of the movie we see how far is she ready to go to hide him (not only from perpetrators but her parents as well) and help him recover. Unlike similar movies coming either from USA or European authors who accepted American style (expecting either better commercial results or invitation to Hollywood) Paula van der Oest keeps crime part of the plot a bit in the background, however not letting us to forget it: everything that happens to the heroes is interrupted by those who chase the boy (and, later, the girl as well). And here we come to the main difference between Moonlight and ordinary American movie: in movies coming from USA action scenes are following one another and rare romantic scenes seem to be used only as a short rest to get some air, while action scenes in Moonlight have less tension, they are shorter, separated by other content and never look as if they are the reason why the movie exists at all.

There are several other things I liked in the movie, photography being surely one of them. The fact that the movie was shot in Luxembourg gives it a special charm, because this is a very rare occasion to see this interesting country on a screen. The plot, however, doesn't depend on the location or its beauty, a lot of it is made indoors, but the camera work does a perfect job, and sometimes, unobtrusively, we are awarded by some really marvelous pictures.

After so many good things that I wrote about Moolight people might get the impression that I am fascinated by it. Ufortunatelly, the movie fails even before its beginning, with screenplay. There are too many things that are hard to believe for a movie that – despite being artistic and romantic – tries to be realistic. I created a list of illogicalities that I've found in only 18 opening minutes, but because of space restriction you can read it on Message boards if you want.


Later in the movie illogicalities become less frequent, but again return in last several minutes. First, when Claire and boy make love and he dies during the same night. If his wounds were that severe, how was he able to do all those things before (only while running he shows signs of moderate pain), if not what suddenly got worse and killed him? It wouldn't surprise us at all after first 20-30 minutes, but now? And if his health was so bad to lead him to die, how was he able to make love? With his stomach wounds it wouldn't be easy even if he was recovering. Or, maybe, it wasn't their first sexual experience, so they knew how to get over all the problems? Also, we can imagine the very final scene as the act of revenge and mercy, but how did the girl know how to drive a van good enough to perform it? And why did she go to the van at all, what was she planning to do – never to return home, and why?

But the thing that bothered me more than anything was the use of drugs. Not that I don't believe that kids take drugs (I live in a real world), but them? Claire isn't Christiane F. Coming from hopeless social background – did she have experience with drugs at home, with their rich and rather unusual parents? So, from an innocent looking girl who saves a boy she suddenly becomes his dealer? And the boy who was abused and almost killed because of drugs now doesn't know better than taking them, becoming almost no better than his abusers? This way the authors send us a very, very bad picture of their heros and consequently their generation. Such a pity for a movie that could have been so good...

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8 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

ILL-MET by 'Moonlight'...

Author: F Gwynplaine MacIntyre from Minffordd, North Wales
22 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

'Moonlight' is (so far) the only movie I've ever seen that was shot in Luxembourg, but I fervently hope it's not a typical example of Luxembourgeoise cinema. This movie is a lot more arty-tarty than it needs to be. For starters, the title is nearly irrelevant: some of the action takes place in a house named Mondschein ('moonlight'), but that name is completely arbitrary and unrelated to the plot.

SPOILERS COMING. 'Moonlight' is the first movie I've seen that's directed by Paula van der Oest, and (again) I fervently hope this is not a typical example of her craft. In 'Moonlight', she shows a penchant for camera set-ups that are distracting and serve no useful purpose. When young Claire feeds her dog, van der Oest plumps for an overhead shot as if we were watching a Busby Berkeley musical. Later, Claire and the fugitive boy break into a house during the resident family's absence, and then attempt some sexual fumblings in the parents' bed ... only to be caught in the act when two people walk in. Van der Oest uses a very contrived camera set-up to make us think that the arrivals are the parents, then uses a reverse angle to reveal that they are actually the family's son and daughter. The switcheroo serves absolutely no purpose except to disorient us. Elsewhere, Claire tells the boy that she's a foundling: is this true, or is it a lie told in a childish attempt to impress him? We never find out. Either way, it's irrelevant to the story.

'Moonlight' could have been a straightforward thriller. A boy from an unnamed country (apparently Turkey) has arrived in Luxembourg as a drugs 'mule', his digestive tract packed with condoms filled with narcotic contraband. When he fails to excrete them quickly enough, a drugs runner shoots him and leaves him for dead ... but stupidly doesn't bother to check. The girl Claire finds the boy and helps him, but oddly she never tells her parents about him. (If she's a foundling, they must be her foster parents.) Very implausibly, she runs away from home with the boy, having no clear destination in mind. Are there no police in Luxembourg?

The film places some emphasis on pubescent sexuality: Claire experiences her menarche just before she finds the bleeding boy, and there's some attempt to equate her bloodstained knickers with his bloodstained gut. Later, there's a deeply implausible sequence in which the two runaways enrol themselves in a girls' convent school, where the nuns accept them without question. Claire introduces the boy as her sister: he is very clearly male (even while wearing a Communion dress), yet all the nuns and at least one priest automatically accept him as a girl. Speaking of girls' clothing, I could have done without the shot of the Down's Syndrome girl stripping off to her bra and underpants.

Obscure joke: Claire's dog is named Quick, and at one point the dog seems to have a stunt double. I couldn't help wondering if the stunt double's name is Flupke. (Americans won't get this reference.)

This is one of those movies in which increasingly contrived events keep happening ... and AFTER each one occurs, we realise that it didn't really happen after all: Claire seems to be turning more and more hallucinatory as the film proceeds. At the end of the film, Claire commits suicide by an extremely implausible method. Or ... DOES she? Sheesh!

I well and truly wanted to like this film. When director van der Oest puts aside her arty crotchets and she sticks to the story, she shows some genuine narrative talent despite the increasing incoherence of this plot line. In the lead role as Claire, young actress Laurien Van den Broeck is extremely pretty and personable, with significant screen presence. I wish her good luck elsewhere in other projects.

If you watch any five consecutive minutes of 'Moonlight', you'll mistake this for a brilliant film. If you watch it from beginning to end, as I did, your response will likely be similar to mine: namely, "HUH?" I wish that all this talent and these resources had been devoted to a more coherent screenplay, and I regretfully rate 'Moonlight' only 4 out of 10.

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5 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

It began well, but It´s a very small film

Author: Gustavo Pavan ( from Buenos Aires
28 March 2003

The history of a girl who finds a wounded dealing drug boy (by obligation), had excited to me in the beginning of the film. But the film became long, eternal... slow and with a prediscible end. Only the performance of Laurien Van den Broeck is worth the trouble, but this it does not do that the film reaches to the 5 points. In order to spend the short while it is well, but you do not wait for too much...

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1 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

It's a distinct film with a lot missing.

Author: maybe730 from Orlando, Florida
13 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

POSSIBLE SPOILERS: I gave this movie 5 stars because it's equal parts good and bad. This is a road trip movie about first love between two teenagers from different worlds.. except one doesn't speak English. In fact, he doesn't seem to do much of anything except get shot, look confused, and then look angry. I found it difficult to feel much for him. It was a shame he was forced into such a terrible situation, but no real attempt was made to develop him beyond that. Fortunately, more is revealed about the girl's personality. The girl's parents are a little odd and don't seem to mind having a black leather jacket clad gangster wander around their property at night. Half the gangsters looking for the kids in this movie disappear as it goes on and we only learn the fate of a couple of them with the main gangster only bookending the film and completely disappearing in the middle. But there wasn't a lot to their characters anyway (though it would've been nice to at least know what became of them or see them get their comeuppance). The drug use by the boy and girl didn't bother me (it didn't look like they were enjoying themselves very much there at the end) but the nudity did surprise me. And the tragic scene immediately after the sex made me laugh aloud. I couldn't help it, it seemed too conveniently dramatic to be taken seriously. I did like the menstruation theme that ran through the whole film and thought it was cleverly used at times and I thought the very end was interesting. Overall, if there had been more dialogue and more happenings on the road trip I would've liked it better.

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4 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Good cinematography, good acting, but very weak plot.

Author: twine- from Netherlands
5 February 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I had never heard of this movie until monday, when i found out it would be available for rent(dvd) the next day. (02/04/2003) So i decided to pick it up as the imdb info and comment looked quite promising.

After watching the trailer on the dvd (before watching the actual movie) i thought, well this is going to be a good mysterious and a bit romantic movie. But boy, am i disappointed.

Let me start with the positive things first. The cinematography is quite good, beautiful filming and shots at times. The acting (especially by the young Laurien Van den Broeck) is good aswell. Just 13 or 14? years old and already speaking fluent english including some french and german. I hope she will develop herself to a good actress in the future. But then we get to the plot, which is really really weak and terrible slow. *** SPOILERS AHEAD ***

The basic story: A boy from afghanistan is used by some criminals to smuggle drugs(coke rolled in plastic, he eats it and keeps it in his stomage to poop it out at the destination) something goes wrong and the criminals shoot him 2 times. Thinking the boy is dead they run/drive off, he actually isn't and ends up wounded at the house of Claire. Claire finds him and decides to take care of him. The criminals ofcourse find out he isn't dead and start looking for him, when claire sees the criminals kill an innocent man she decides to go on the run with the boy.

The first 35mins revolve around claire taking care of the boy at her house. This part is very slow and contains some unnecessary parts imho: the ~2mins intro /w credits where the camera flies over the woods. Nice cinematography and all, but what does it contribute to the movie? Thats right, nothing. Ok you know where the movie starts, (in the woods) but does it really have to take 2mins to show that? The movie shows having the girl her first period, contributes nothing to the story. The movie shows a 1min swimming scene, and i still don't understand what that part had to do with the story.

After 35mins claire sees the criminals(which are looking for the boy) kill an innocent man and she goes on the run with the boy. (leaving her house) You would expect a nice thrilling follow up of the movie now. Too bad, it won't happen. The rest of the movie is as slow and stupid as the first part. They visit various weird locations, (including a convent) the typical dutch elements for a movie get thrown in again: The boy/girl start sniffing/using the coke(why?), the girl goes naked(thought i was looking at child porn here) and has sex with the boy, one of the criminals tries to rape(literally) the girl. And it contains alot of unnecessary parts, which only seem to be there to get the movie at the final 85min running time.

I could probably go on for another 5mins, but i think i will stop here. Final conclusion is that the plot/story is very weak, pathetic and it ruins the movie.

4/10 (cinematography, acting is good. But the plot takes the rating down bigtime)

PS. I tried to get my 4$ back at the videostore, but no...... :)

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8 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Yeehaa, dutch movies are getting better and better.

Author: marco grandia from amsterdam, netherlands
24 February 2003

The guy at the videostore did not recommend it. A friend of mine did and i am glad i rented it. Afterwards the guy in the videostore confessed that he only saw the first ten minutes. Anyways, good movie, interesting subject. The kids play really good. mysterious surroundings. good camerawork. YEP! well done guys.

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3 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Unnecessary Excrement and Urine

Author: Kashmirgrey from United States
4 June 2007

If there was a message the director of "Moonlight" was trying to put across, I missed it. However, one thing is certain, I got my fill of two kids' bathroom habits (or lack thereof.) We are not told why a young 13-year old girl, who is obviously loved by her parents and well-taken care of, decides to secretly harbor a young boy who has been shot once in the leg and once in the abdomen. Why she doesn't tell her parents remains a mystery. Of course, how she determined the boy's wounds were a result of being shot is even a more perplexing mystery. He doesn't speak English (or any other language in which she is apparently fluent.) This film begins with a very absorbing plot, but unfortunately the birds ate all its breadcrumbs, and inevitably along with its viewers, the film becomes fatally lost.

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