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Serious Moonlight
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Reviews & Ratings for
Serious Moonlight More at IMDbPro »

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74 out of 112 people found the following review useful:

NOT the 'chick' flick you might think -- thankfully!

10/10
Author: amanda-694
23 October 2009

Based solely on its trailers this movie is already getting a bad rap online, with many lambasting it as some 'chick' flick revamp of 'French Kiss'. Don't believe that hooey. This is a dark comedy worthy of Hitchcock, and it's far, far removed from Meg Ryan's past 'sweetheart' roles.

'Serious Moonlight' is a simple, character-driven story of what happens when high-powered lawyer Louise (Meg Ryan) finds out her husband Ian (Timothy Hutton) plans to leave her for his younger mistress Sara (Kristen Bell). Louise holds Ian hostage, the better to make him explain what happened to their marriage. Eventually, an unexpected visit by Todd (Justin Long) forces husband, wife, and mistress to confront their situation in an unexpected manner.

As director Cheryl Hines suggested at the Austin Film Festival Q&A before and after the movie, the film's plot really centers on Ian's character development. I have to agree, and I also think Hines was right when she said that Timothy Hutton was perfect for this role.

And while some might take Louise's decision to tie her husband up as pathetically desperate, I found it entirely believable that such drastic action would be necessary to make a man talk about his real feelings – especially when he's doing something as unoriginally asinine as finding 'real love' with a younger woman. It's no accident that Sara looks conspicuously like young Louise, I think, and much of the movie's subtext is about the difference between early passion and long-term commitment.

This movie often feels like a play in the best sense, focusing on small moments and realistic conversation. Its short length stops it from feeling stage-y, however, and the actors all convey their lines with wonderful subtlety.

Hines also described the meticulous process of reading through the script with the actors to determine what was funny and what wasn't. I think this was nothing short of genius; so many non-traditional comedies lose the distinction so you're not sure what the intent of any given scene is. Perhaps because of her strong background in comedy, Hines wisely avoids this pitfall, making the movie's laughs razor-sharp, but balancing them with genuinely tense moments.

I won't tell you how the movie ends, because there's a bit of a twist. But I will be very curious to see what happens when it's released. I suspect that there will be some controversy about the how the film treats the battle of the sexes, and I fear some men might cower in the face of Louise's character -- Ian certainly does, at least at first. But that's almost the point, and I'm glad to see a woman-authored, woman-directed view of male infidelity for once.

This darkly comic movie is definitely worth seeing, in my opinion, and given how seriously funnylady Hines takes her job as director, I sincerely hope to see more of her work soon.

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41 out of 55 people found the following review useful:

A twisted Devito-like comedy.

7/10
Author: rwdrex from United States
25 December 2009

If you enjoy films like "War of the Roses", you should like this one.

Basically this is a love-triangle story about a man (Tim Hutton) whose planning on leaving his wife (Meg Ryan) of 14 years for a much younger woman (Kristin Bell). The wife doesn't respond well and much inappropriate behavior follows.

Not much depth is written into these people but Ryan and Hutton do a rather spectacular job with their roles anyway. Special notice should be given to Justin Long's cameo as a thug. He seems to relish his small 'against type-cast' role. Unfortunately, Kristin Bell bores us with her very two-dimensional performance.

The plot tidies itself up rather too quickly from this twisted story, but at least we're not left with an overly long film. And the first hour is one of the darkest hours of film I've ever seen--in a good way.

If you've seen Adrienne Shelly's (the writer) other film, "Waitress", you'll be familiar with the style of this film. "Waitress" is a more complete movie with much more depth. However, Cheryl Hines--who took over for Shelly after her untimely death--does a commendable job.

I'm saddened to realize this will be the last work we see from the mind of Adrienne Shelly. As it stands, it's not a bad way to be remembered. A writer/director who had a flair for gracefully exploring people's darkest emotions and desires.

And no, I'm not just saying this because I'm strapped to a toilet!

P.S. This film is not a date flick;)

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31 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

strange hormonal man-hating thing

3/10
Author: hoop from United Kingdom
22 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What a bizarre film.

First off, i have to say, i actually enjoyed the first two thirds or so of it, strange hormonal man-hating thing that it is. It has enough of a dark edge & originality to stand out from the usual production line chick-flicks. However, once the gardener character turns up the whole thing goes off the rails & becomes as unhinged as the central character. And entirely implausible, too - the idea (trying not to give too much away, here) that the characters could not get out of the situation they are forced into is visibly ridiculous.. did no-one proof-read this thing?

Also, all the motives & lines for all the male characters are by far the most unbelievable i have ever heard. Not one of them speaks like a real person. Did some fat girl run out of Mills & Boon books one afternoon & decide to knock one out herself? It's really depressing to think how many women will happily tolerate this kind of ken-doll fantasy depiction of their opposite number.

On the plus side, Meg Ryan does what she is called on to do well, & Timothy Hutton does what he can with the dialogue given him. There are some tender & insightful moments amid the plot holes & deranged logic. The twist at the end helps but doesn't redeem what has gone before, & in fact makes Ryan's manipulative character all the more disturbing.

For all of this, it's still better than the usual Hollywood detritus, an interesting & original idea run aground by a script that has no idea whatsoever of how men actually think, act, talk & feel. Which is a real pity, as this could have been something really special.

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25 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

A different comedy about being taped to a toilet...

7/10
Author: Paul Magne Haakonsen from Denmark
6 February 2010

This is one of the better movies I have seen this past month or so.

Meg Ryan puts on a marvelous performance as the slightly crazy wife doing whatever she can to make her husband love her.

This is a comedy unlike most other comedies out there. It had really good dialogue and some nice scenes. You just curl your toes at the extremes Meg Ryan's character goes to for making her husband stay with her. Now, it is not a comedy that will make you roll over laughing with tears streaming down your cheeks, but it is funny and have a very believable feel to it. You really get to feel for the characters of the movie.

I like Meg Ryan as an actress, and this is one of the better roles I have seen her portray in awhile. A good step away from the usual romantic comedies that she have been making.

Without giving away too much of the story, I found the plot to be very predictable. Very easy to figure out what happens early on and also easy to figure out how it will end - it is a Hollywood movie after all. And I am not just saying that because I am taped to a toilet!

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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

It's like a romantic comedy except completely different

7/10
Author: napierslogs from Ontario, Canada
21 June 2010

"Serious Moonlight" deserves to be seen for a number of reasons.

First, it is written by the late Adrienne Shelly (best known for "Waitress" (2007)). After her death, her husband set up the Adrienne Shelly Foundation to help women pursue their film-making dreams. Money earned from her films goes towards this foundation.

Second, there are a lot of elements in this film that are pretty original which seems to be a hard feat to accomplish for most films today.

Third, the interesting casting choices, which give us the pleasure of seeing Meg Ryan and Timothy Hutton in mature, grown up roles but acting childishly-stupid with glimmers of maturity and wisdom. After seeing this movie, I believe they are the only actors who could pull it off so beautifully. Add to this, Justin Long in a funny and very surprising role, and then the adorable Kristin Bell who for once is actually playing a character less-accomplished than the average woman her age.

"Serious Moonlight" is a romantic comedy of sorts where we have a husband divorcing his wife so he can be with his younger mistress. Include a couple criminal activities and all plans get thrown out the window. Every turn in this movie is funny, original, thoughtful, and romantic - in its own weird way.

I recommend spending your money on "Serious Moonlight". Rest in Peace, Adrienne.

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14 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Though has some familiar things to it, still definitely worth watching.

8/10
Author: Sirus_the_Virus from United States
14 February 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Meg Ryan and Timothy Hutton star yet again in a romantic comedy, not called French kiss but Serious moonlight. Serious moonlight has a couple of little flaws but really I didn't have much of a problem with it. Though the ending is predictable, the film still works, even for a romantic comedy.

Nowadays, romantic comedies are overly clichéd and have many flaws. Though I enjoy a couple of them. Such as My life in ruins, The Proposal, (500) days of Summer, and unlike anyone else, I enjoyed What happens in Vegas. The genre has kind of expired when it comes to predictability. But Serious moonlight, though predictable, works cause of the charm between the two stars and it's hilarious.

Meg Ryan stars as Louise, a lawyer who realizes that her husband(played by Timothy Hutton) is having an affair. So she decides to tape him up and hold him hostage to make him fall in love with her again. But they are put in a bad situation when they are both held hostage together.

The film is very funny. From both actors. Meg Ryan may look a little different, but she's still America's sweetheart. The film has little flaws. One of them is the fact that some of it isn't entirely original. Hutton's character is cheating on her, and is flying off to Paris. That is mainly it. Serious moonlight is an impressive directorial debut from Cheryl Hines(Curb your enthusiasm).This is a highly enjoyable film. See it. Oh, and I didn't understand the title. That's it.

Serious moonlight: 4/5

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Cute

6/10
Author: dave-sturm from Baltimore
20 June 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

MAJOR SPOILER AHEAD. THE ENDING WILL BE REVEALED. YOU ARE WARNED.

Ahem. This clever rom com is virtually a two-character play and most of it transpires in a bathroom. Early on, I began to sense all was not as it seemed. And it's not.

Everything in the movie points to it being a set up by Louise. Let's count the ways --

From the moment she arrived at the house, her whole attitude is fake innocent. Any other woman would be suspicious that her husband had strewn rose petals all over the place, but wasn't expecting his wife.

Lawn boy shows up oh so conveniently just after Louise goes into town for food.

Lawn boy is listening to music on his riding mower and cannot hear hubby's screams for help or banging on the bathroom window. Where does he decide to shut off the mower and remove his head set? Directly beneath the bathroom window.

When Louise returns to the house, her confrontation with lawn boy is entirely off camera. We just see the fishbowl smash and hear her screams and see the alarm on hubby's face. It's all an act by Louise and lawn boy.

When lawn boy drags Louise into the bathroom, apparently unconscious, and tapes her up, the husband begins his long, tearful confession that he really loves her. Supposedly she is knocked out and not hearing it, but the camera shows close ups of her face. She does not look unconscious. It is strongly hinted she is hearing this.

Lawn boy acts all lustful over Louise, even feeling her up when unconscious. Then he turns to hubby and says something like, "How could you not want this?"

If you really want to immobilize someone with duct tape, you tape their hands behind their back, not in front.

Louise has her hands duct taped in front of her. There are broken mirror shards on the floor. Hello?

When husband said he hoped the crooks would not take the heirloom silver set, a red flag went up and I said, they won't. They didn't. What kind of crooks leave behind a chest of silver sitting in plain sight?

And what kind of crooks clean the house of loot, then stick around all night to drink and party? Could it be to give Louise more time with her husband?

The only question is, how did Louise find out about the affair? And how did she know hubby was going to be at the house a day early, preparing to fly to Paris in the morning with his girlfriend? I guess we just have to go along.

As to the final scene, it could have been better. As Louise, her husband and Lawn Boy pass on the street, what if they exchanged knowing glances, but the husband doesn't see and remains clueless. Way cooler, I think.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A troubled couple's search for answers

Author: Gordon-11 from Earth
17 July 2010

This film is about a woman coming back home to find her husband writing a note asking for divorce. She holds her husband captive to try to win him back.

"Serious Moonlight" has only two actors most of the time, and the whole film is set in a house. Yet, it manages to maintain viewers' attention by the spectrum of emotions the two go through as the day progresses. The plot is engaging, but I find the husband's change of heart a little too abrupt. The final few seconds of the film is simple and yet effectively suggests something sinister has happened, thereby opening up viewers' imagination as to why things happened this way. "Serious Moonlight" is an interesting portrayal of a troubled couple who searches their soul for answers.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Twist and shout

3/10
Author: kosmasp
1 August 2010

Looking at the cast of the movie, you'd think you have a nice comedy at hand. Well it's anything but nice. And this is exactly where it lost (with me). Having two lead characters that are so despicable as the two at hand here, never really connected me with them. That it is borderline insane (the set-up, which gets even more ridiculous by an ending that is pretty clear, but gets "explained" here on IMDb, if you happened to miss that) and tries to "hammer" in things (quite literally at times), does not make this any better than other movies. It just makes it very different than them.

It wasn't my cup of tea and if the actors were worse, I would have rated this lower. But while other movies try to establish an alternate reality or world, this grounds itself into reality and therefor is prone to be judged by that. Of course, since tastes are different, you might actually like it (because of all the things I've listed, not despite) ...

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7 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Offbeat and insightful yet madcap comedy

8/10
Author: herbqedi from New York, NY
30 March 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Danny DeVito is not in this movie - but between Ruthless People and War of the Roses, I certainly felt his presence in the echoes.

*** SPOILERS *** Meg Ryan is perfection in the lead as the high-powered lawyer who refuses to let the end of their marriage and her life after it - which she sees all too clearly - become just another cliché. She goes to extremes to buy time, seemingly relents, but plays a planned trump card to retain control of the situation. After duct-taping the recalcitrant husband to a toilet, things really get interesting - and crazy. Justin Long, seemingly cast against type as a thuggish yet provocatively curious home invader with - and he is great - and the balance he shows between these aspects of his character doesn't really hit home until after you have viewed, re-viewed, then thought about the film's final scene.

As others have pointed out, Cheryl Hines from Waitress, RV, and Curb Your Enthuiasm directs the script from the late Adrienne Shelley who had died before the film was produced. Someone said here that Hines only started to direct it after Shelley was killed. I don't know whether that's true, but if so, I'm guessing there was also a production deadline she had to meet. The directing emphasis, as in a play, was 100% on getting the best performances from the characters. Anything beyond that was for making each scene work and flow into the next. I think she did a fine job with both - especially for a novice. The result does seem like a filmed stage play. Except for the last brilliant scene in town, there is no motion, no design, and no visual artistry in the direction. I'm guessing that there was no time or budget for that. Since, i tend to be story-acting-and dialog oriented, that did not bother me as much as some, but if you are looking for visual satisfaction from a film and seeing Timothy Hutton duct-taped to a toilet does not turn you on, you should probably look elsewhere.

On the other-hand, it you are looking for well-acted and off-beat character-driven entertainment as a way to spend 90 minutes of your day, watch the DVD of Serious Moonlight.

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