7.2/10
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Bitter Moon (1992)

After hearing stories of her, a passenger on a cruise ship develops an irresistible infatuation with an eccentric paraplegic's wife.

Director:

Roman Polanski

Writers:

Pascal Bruckner (novel), Roman Polanski (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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2,681 ( 74)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Coyote ... Oscar
Emmanuelle Seigner ... Mimi
Hugh Grant ... Nigel
Kristin Scott Thomas ... Fiona
Victor Banerjee ... Mr. Singh
Sophie Patel Sophie Patel ... Amrita Singh
Patrick Albenque Patrick Albenque ... Steward
Smilja Mihailovitch Smilja Mihailovitch ... Bridge Player
Leo Eckmann Leo Eckmann ... Bridge Player
Luca Vellani Luca Vellani ... Dado
Richard Dieux Richard Dieux ... Partygoer
Danny Wuyts Danny Wuyts ... Bandleader (as Danny Garcy)
Daniel Dhubert Daniel Dhubert ... Bus Inspector
Nathalie Galán Nathalie Galán ... Girl in Boutique (as Nathalie Galan)
Eric Gonzales Eric Gonzales ... Cook
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Storyline

British couple Fiona and Nigel Dobson are sailing to Istanbul en route to India. They encounter a beautiful French woman, and that night Nigel meets her while dancing alone in the ship's bar. Later he meets her crippled American husband Oscar, who tells him their story. While living in Paris for several years trying to be a writer, he becomes obsessed with a woman he met by chance on a bus. He tracks her down and they start a steamy love affair. Soon Oscar finds himself enslaved body and soul by her love, and continues to tell Nigel the details of this relationship in various stages over a number of visits to Oscar's cabin. Written by Sami Al-Taher <staher2000@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Some lovers never know when to stop... See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for the strong depiction of a perverse sexual relationship | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | UK | USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

18 March 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bitter måne See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$37,997, 18 March 1994, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,862,805
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filmed in part aboard the M.T.S. Odysseus, a cruise ship of Greece's Epirotiki Line. First launched in 1961 as the Princesa Isabel, Odysseus ended her career as the Lucky Star, a casino ship based out of Singapore. She was scrapped in Alang, India in April 2008, some 16 years after her appearance in Bitter Moon. See more »

Goofs

In the scene when Mimi cuts her hair for the first time and bakes a Turkey for Oscar, he is wearing the same turtle necked blue sweater that was ripped off with a razor blade during a previous sex game. See more »

Quotes

Mr.Singh: Believe me dear lady, children are a better form of marital therapy than any trip to India.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Girls: Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Faith
Written by George Michael
Performed by George Michael
Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment (France) S.A. /Epic
See more »

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User Reviews

Consuming Passions
3 December 1999 | by dragon-90See all my reviews

Roman Polanski again explores the depths of the human psyche in Bitter Moon, a magnificent epic tale of obsessive lust and the oh-so-familiar winding course of a passionate romance gone sour.

Bitter Moon centers around a familiar Polanski theme, that we are capable of being both torturer and victim, and usually both simultaneously. For anyone who doubts the validity of much of the past century of French intellectual thought, from the likes of Andre Gide, Foucault, and others, see this movie. For anyone who has been in a painful twisted relationship, see this movie. You will understand it. Some of it might be hard to stomach but that is the nature of truly great filmmaking.

A beautifully crafted movie, almost lyrical at times, Bitter moon is set in contemporary Paris but is told in a series of long complex flashbacks superbly narrated by Oscar (a terrific Peter Coyote) to Nigel (Hugh Grant as the usual British prat), both passengers on a cruise ship to India. Nigel and his wife Fiona, played by Kirsten Scott-Thomas, are on a holiday to enliven a stable but stale marriage. The couples become embroiled through the lurid tale of Oscar and Mimi's (Emmanuelle Seigner) love affair. Emmanuelle, Polanski's real-life wife, is superb and her incredible performance takes her from sumptuous beauty to complete wreck, a performance that deserves far more praise than was received. The lack of attention to her performance in this movie is no doubt due to the notoriety in the puritanical American press of her husband.

As a whole, Bitter Moon may not be Polanski's best film but some periods of the movie represent his very best work. Throughout, limits are pushed to the brink of tastelessness but Polanski masterfully pulls back just in time. The direction is complex and highly sophisticated and the movie arouses a range of emotions from dread to empathy to disgust to hilarity. The story line is far too complicated to synopsize appropriately in this review. Bitter moon is a great film, one of this reviewer's top 10 for the 1990s. Another must see! A word of caution, however, Bitter Moon is not a good date movie.


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