Moonlight Mile [2002]

For anyone who has lost a loved one, Moonlight Mile will ring true with heartfelt emotion. Like the characters in this well-acted film, writer-director Brad Silberling confronted death when his girlfriend, actress Rebecca Schaeffer, was murdered in 1989. That tragedy gives Moonlight Mile its mournful authenticity, beginning in 1973 after the killing of a young woman whose fiancé, Joe (Jake Gyllenhaal), is living with her grieving parents (Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon) while contemplating his uncertain future. The film is occasionally sidetracked by Hollywood slickness, but Silberling (who scored box-office hits with Casper and City of Angels) gets the emotional details exactly right, and a potentially formulaic romance between Joe and a local girl (superbly played by newcomer Ellen Pompeo) feels like a natural step toward recovery. Holly Hunter plays a small but pivotal role, and while Moonlight Mile lacks the gravity of the dramatically similar In the Bedroom, it springs from the same source of compassionate understanding. --Jeff Shannon

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Joe Nast:
I'm sorry, I can't, I can't do this. It didn't happen. We loved each other, we broke it off. If I don't-Jesus, if I don't say this now, it'll never-she'll never be a part of this. What are we-what are we doing here? I don't even-I don't even know this guy. She-she didn't even know this guy. What's he got to do with her? I don't-look, you asked me to bring her in the room, and she's not here-she's not. And whatever happens here, whatever happens to this guy, she's not here. And the only way that you're gonna bring her in here is with the truth. I don't know-I don't know what else to say. You just tell me what to say, and I swear, I'll try, but if you want her, you got to keep it honest. You have to understand that Diana had this thing, this way of bringing out the real in people, not just the best, you know-their honesty. And I guess she's doing it again now cause there's no way I'd be sitting here saying these things I can't believe are coming out of my mouth. It was Diana who finally had the courage. *She* was the one who told *me* that I didn't want to go through with it. And I guess she's-she's doing it again, cause all of this-all of this is everything that she wouldn't want. She wasn't a bride-to-be. She wasn't a victim. She was strong and real and messed up and wickedly honest, just like her mother. And if I sit here trying to paint it any other way, I... Oh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I just-I thought-I thought that if I could just... paint the pictures that you needed, you know, that... that somehow... that somehow you'd bring these people some peace, finally, and they'd have their daughter back, or... But, uh... that's not how she'd wanna be. The truth is hard. Sometimes it looks so wrong, you know-the color's off, the style's wrong, but I guess it-I guess it's where the good one's live.

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