By Erin Free

The romantic drama is a much maligned genre, only out-hated by its cousin, the romantic comedy, and that genre’s even more derided by-product, the chick-flick! Usually aimed at a sub-section of moviegoers – namely women – sniffed at by “hipper” segments of the audience (including critics), the romantic drama is a genre deemed desperately uncool. There are many great films, however, which look at love, and the joy, pain, happiness and frustration that it can bring. The Way We Were, The Notebook, …say Anything, The Bridges Of Madison County…the examples are many and varied. One of the great unheralded romantic dramas is the 1999 gem A Walk On The Moon, which saw an initial release on VHS in Australia, but has been tough to find ever since…though the online space obviously now offers many options. The online space also offers casinos accepting BLIK.

Written with rare intimacy and understanding by first timer Pamela Gray (who went on to script the low-key Meryl Streep vehicle Music Of The Heart) and directed with appropriate care and sincerity by fellow debutante and occasional actor Tony Goldwyn (most famous for playing the bad guy in Ghost, but now a regular TV helmer, and also the director of the Hilary Swank/Sam Rockwell drama Conviction, which Pamela Gray also wrote), A Walk On The Moon is a real adult (not in the porno sense) romantic drama, movingly portraying a love triangle sympathetically from all sides.

The perennially underrated and always brilliant Diane Lane (a mainstay of this kind of cinema) is Pearl Kantrowitz, a devoted housewife who heads off on her regular vacation in the Catskills with her husband Marty (Liev Schreiber in one of his best performances), her fourteen-year-old daughter, Alison (the excellent Anna Paquin), her slightly obnoxious younger son, Daniel (Bobby Boriello), and her caring but over-involved mother-in-law, Lillian (Tovah Feldshuh). It’s the late sixties, and the Kantrowitz family is Jewish, conservative and decent. Pearl is not the kind of wife who would ever contemplate an affair, but when she encounters “the blouse man” (Viggo Mortensen in a typically unusual and magnetic performance), a hippy travelling salesman trading in women’s clothing, she’s intrigued by his sexy diffidence and the sense of adventure and rebellion that he represents. The unlikely pair eventually embarks on an affair, which will have consequences for them both.

The best thing about A Walk On The Moon is the respect with which it treats all of its characters. Despite their flaws, they all cling to a core of decency, which makes this modest romantic drama resonate with rare emotional power.


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