Serious Moonlight (2009 film)
Promotional film poster
|Directed by||Cheryl Hines|
|Produced by||Todd Stein
|Written by||Adrienne Shelly|
|Music by||Andrew Hollander|
|Edited by||Steve Rasch|
|Distributed by||Magnolia Pictures|
|4 December 2009 (US)|
|Box office||$138,696 (Worldwide)|
When Louise, a high-powered attorney (Meg Ryan), discovers that her husband Ian (Timothy Hutton) is about to leave her for another woman Sara (Kristen Bell), she prevents him from doing so by binding him to a chair with duct tape. She tries to persuade and convince him that he still loves her, but everything she says fails to change his mind. He lies and promises that he still loves her and won't run away when she frees him. When he tries to escape, she knocks him out with a flower pot and tapes him to a toilet. She then leaves the house to purchase groceries to make a "romantic meal." While she is out, a lawn service boy comes by to mow the lawn, and Ian successfully yells for help and gets his attention. The boy, realizing that there is no one else in the house, begins robbing their house. When Louise returns, the burglar attacks her and brings her into the bathroom with Ian. During their captivity, Ian realizes that he does still love his wife, and the couple makes up. The next morning, Sara (Ian's mistress) comes to the house, furious that Ian did not show up at the airport to go to Paris with her. The burglars put Sara into the bathroom with the reconciled couple, and the three discuss their love triangle situation. They manage to escape by calling the police from Sara's cell phone, which is in her back pocket. After the whole ordeal, Ian chooses to stay with Louise.
Some time later, Ian and Louise have sold their house and are moving away. They have had a baby as they had tried to in the past. They decide to have lunch one last time in town before they move. While walking to the restaurant, they walk past the same burglar who robbed their house, and the burglar nods at them in recognition. Louise looks away and walks away quickly, and Ian looks stunned (implying she organized the burglary).
In 2006, a year prior to filming, the screenplay's writer, Adrienne Shelly, was murdered in New York. Her widower, Andy Ostroy, acted as a producer for the film. The film marks the feature directorial debut of Cheryl Hines, Shelly's Waitress co-star. "I feel a great sense of pride to be directing this film," Hines said. "I had such respect for Adrienne and the work she did. And I love her writing so much. That tone is really in my wheelhouse."
On 28 July, Magnolia Pictures revealed that they had acquired the North American rights to the film. It was released via Magnolia's Ultra VOD programme, providing a platform of 50 million households. This was followed by a December 4, 2009 theatrical release.
The film has received a mixed-to-negative critical reaction. It has received a score of 36 (Generally unfavorable reviews) at the review-collating website Metacritic, as well as a "Tomatometer" score of 28% at Rotten Tomatoes.
Of those who praised the film, the Hollywood Reporter said: "'Moonlight' has its serious side as an intelligent peephole into the psychological and sexual dynamics that can drive a once loving, loyal couple to the edge of criminality." They also praised Ryan's "terrific" performance and concluded that the film is "a nuttily engaging tale of betrayal and, perhaps, redemption." The Los Angeles Times considered it "one of the pleasures of the film -- from conception to character to the conversations that fill the scenes -- is the savvy and off-center way Shelly had of crafting troubled relationships. Thankfully, Waitress co-star Cheryl Hines has not lost sight of that in making her feature directing debut."
However, most critics agreed with Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle, who believed the film to be "a tonal disaster, distasteful and sentimental by turns. It was probably a mistake to have Hines try to walk that same delicate line that took Shelly her entire career to master." The New York Post thought it "foul" and "a shrill farce that strains credibility even by the standards of black comedy", with "a problematic script by murdered filmmaker Adrienne Shelley ("Waitress"), which never should have seen the light of day". Ultimately, the Village Voice found the film's "backstory much more intriguingly dramatic than what's onscreen".
- Cooper, Chet. "Cheryl Hines Interview". Ability Magazine. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- "Hines gets 'Serious'" Variety. 28 October 2007
- Serious Moonlight Tribeca Film Festival
- "Magnolia gets 'Serious'" Variety. July 28, 2009
- "Magnolia takes a shine to Cheryl Hines' Serious Moonlight" Screen Daily. 29 July 2009
- "Magnolia Pictures acquires rights to 'Serious Moonlight'" Entertainment Weekly. 28 July 2009
- "'Moonlight' to get December release" 28 July 2009. United Press International
- "Myriad buys worldwide rights to Serious Moonlight" Screen Daily. 14 May 2009
- Serious Moonlight reviews at Metacritic.com Metacritic
- Serious Moonlight Movie Reviews, Pictures Rotten Tomatoes
- Film Review: Serious Moonlight[dead link] Hollywood Reporter. 5 May 2009
- MOVIE REVIEW 'Serious Moonlight' Los Angeles Times. 4 December 2009
- Review: 'Serious Moonlight' San Francisco Chronicle. 4 December 2009
- "Foul bathroom setting suits 'Serious Moonlight'" New York Post. 4 December 2009
- "Timothy Hutton and Meg Ryan in Serious Moonlight" Village Voice. 1 December 2009