Bitter Moon [1992]

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Peter Coyote, Hugh Grant, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emmanuelle Seigner, Victor Banerjee
Genre: Drama, Romance, Thriller
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 134 minutes

Unquestionably one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, Roman Polanski (Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, The Pianist) turns his talents to the realm of sexual perversity and its emotional toll. While on a Mediterranean cruise, Nigel and Fiona (Hugh Grant and Kristin Scott Thomas) find a young French woman named Mimi (Emmanuelle Seigner) crying in a bathroom. Mimi's paraplegic American husband Oscar (Peter Coyote) forces Nigel to listen to how Oscar and Mimi fell in love--as well as how they discovered kinky erotic games and finally arrived at a curdled, mutual sadism. Bitter Moon veers erratically from salacious erotica to black comedy to clumsy psychodrama, but individual scenes have a definite punch. Coyote chews the scenery with glee, Seigner (Polanski's wife, adding a hint of lurid autobiography) flounders moodily, and Grant seems miscast, but Scott Thomas gives the movie some actual dignity. --Bret Fetzer

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