Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Reposted review of the dreadful film, Serious Moonlight...

I don't ordinarily repost my movie reviews, but read this one early this morning and decided I should preserve it. It's one of my more entertaining film opinions.

Serious Moonlight is seriously dreadful...

Review by knotheadusc

in Books, Music, Hotels & Travel

August, 25 2012

Pros: I can't think of any.

Cons: Where do I begin?

My husband Bill and I often watch Netflix movies on Saturdays. I had a couple of them sitting on my desk for a couple of weeks, so we decided we'd watch them today. The first movie we watched, A Serious Man, by the Coen Brothers was a winner. The second one was Serious Moonlight (2009), a "black comedy" by first time director Cheryl Hines and written by the late Adrienne Shelly. The movie is dedicated to Shelly, who was murdered at age 40. Given how horrible this movie was, I'm almost not surprised the writer is no longer among the living.

I'm not sure why I put this film in my Netflix queue. Maybe I was curious about the lead actors, Meg Ryan and Timothy Hutton, who had once been huge stars. I do like black comedies, too. So maybe I figured this film would make me laugh and give me the chance to see two well-regarded actors working together. Alas, this film is not funny and Ryan and Hutton don't have all that much chemistry. Indeed, this movie pretty much had me cringing from the time I pushed play.

The plot

After thirteen years of marriage to his workaholic, neurotic, lawyer wife, Louise (Ryan), Ian (Hutton) decides to get a divorce and run off to Paris with his gorgeous 24 year old lover, Sara (Kristen Bell). He plans to break things off with a note left in the farmhouse he shares with Louise, but she comes home early and catches him in the act of leaving. Not one to give up on love easily, Louise brains Ian with a flower pot and duct tapes him to a toilet while she tries to woo him back into wedded bliss with fresh baked cookies, a sexy dress, a wedding photo slide show, and a poorly sung and played love song.

Ian is bound and determined (snicker) not to fall for Louise's charms. But she refuses to let him go and heads to the market to pick up some special vittles for dinner. Meanwhile, the house is robbed by a brutal lawnmower riding man and his derelict posse, who, besides beating up Ian while he's taped to the toilet, take it upon themselves to have a little party, too. When Louise gets to their home, she too is duct taped and beaten, but at least that gives the couple time to talk about their issues and patch things up.

My thoughts

This film disturbed me on many levels. For one thing, I don't think it's funny for women to commit violent acts on men, even if they're jerks. In this movie, we see Louise hit Ian with two flower pots. He's duct taped to a chair, then to a toilet, while she desperately and crazily tries to get him to fall in love with her again. It makes her look like a violent lunatic with shit for brains. If the situation were reversed and Louise was the one taped to a toilet, people would likely be outraged. They wouldn't think it was funny at all to see some desperate guy trying to force her to love him. I just don't think that type of violence is funny, nor should it be encouraged.

Secondly, I thought the plot and ending were completely ridiculous and unrealistic. In fact, I'm not really sure what the point was supposed to be. Louise comes off as completely nuts. I can totally see why Ian would want to leave her. Even if she weren't crazy and violent, Meg Ryan doesn't look all that attractive as Louise. She isn't aging gracefully and throughout this film, looked like she needed to borrow a comb and cut back on Botox.

Ian doesn't come off as the best catch either. He cheats on Louise and blatantly insults and rejects her. Why on earth would she want him to stick around? I know. She tells us in an emotional monologue in which she says she refuses to be over 40 and lonely, addicted to ice cream, and hanging out with her female friends. Really? So Louise would rather be married to a cad who says he doesn't love her than take care of herself? How insulting to capable and rational women everywhere!

Kristen Bell is very cute as Sara, though she's not given much to do in this film. And she also ends up jilted and comes off as a bit of a bimbo. I guess this is the misanthropic message to potential homewreckers out there, that they will always end up losers if they have affairs with married men and they will always be thought of as bimbos. That may be true for many "other women", but I really don't think Sara is the one viewers or Louise should blame. She didn't make a promise to Louise; Ian did.

I hang out on a Web site called Shrink4men. It's basically a site for men who are victims of emotional abuse and domestic violence perpetrated by women, as well as the non-abusive people who love them. That site, which is run by a psychologist, has taught me that women who act like Louise likely suffer from a cluster B personality disorder. Guys who end up ensnared with "cluster B" women are basically in Hell... and the relationships that result from these pairings often end up hurting a lot of innocent people, including children. The very fact that this film trivializes this problem and makes it look like Louise wins with her craziness makes it a dreadful film in my book. It may be funny if you've never had to deal with this type of woman, but it's really not funny if your life has been affected by someone with no empathy and multiple screws loose. And this isn't to say that Ian is totally innocent, either. For sure, he comes off like an ass. In fact, no one in this movie is particularly sympathetic or likeable. That's another reason why it sucks so badly.

Don't show this...

Serious Moonlight is not a film for anyone, really. But it's definitely not a good choice for kids. There's a lot of swearing, plenty of violence, adult humor, and a little bit of kink. Ordinarily, the kink might be a turn on, but not when it's framed more like rape.

Other information

Serious Moonlight runs for an hour and twenty-five minutes, but it seemed so much longer than that. It's rated R.


What a pity Meg Ryan, Timothy Hutton, and Kristen Bell have their names on this turkey. I do not recommend it unless you're the type of person who enjoys watching women being depicted as unattractive loons and men as selfish, hedonistic cretins. However, I will say that this movie does make a good case study of what life can be like with a woman who has a cluster B personality disorder, right down to the fact that Ian gets "hoovered" back into the relationship with Louise, who finally manages to have a baby. Believe me, the way Meg Ryan looks in that film, I would never guess her character was still young enough to get pregnant without significant medical intervention.


  1. i can see this movie being laughably bad. For one thing, I cannot fathom cheryl Hines as a serious director. Ism't she like either dating or married to RFK, Jr.? Than alone would disqualify anyone as a serious director.

    1. I don't know about the director. I just thought the story sucked.

  2. A textbook example of a bad dark comedy.


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