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Walk On the Moon

1 rating: 5.0
A movie directed by Tony Goldwyn

During the tumultuous and revolutionary summer of 1969, a devoted New York housewife sets off on her annual vacation with her two children to the Catskills. <br> Life takes an unexpected turn when she is seduced by a hippie shirt peddler who helps … see full wiki

Tags: Movies, Dramas
Cast: Anna Paquin
Director: Tony Goldwyn
Release Date: 1998
MPAA Rating: R
1 review about Walk On the Moon

A Desperate Housewife Schtups the Blouse Man in A Walk on the Moon (1999)

  • Jul 6, 2005
Rating:
+5
Pros: acting, soundtrack, cinematography, characters, themes, '60s-ness

Cons: a little predictable; some parts are a tad slow

The Bottom Line: Heartwarming ‘60s-nostalgia flick with a wonderful soundtrack

Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot.

It’s the summer of 1969, and the Kantrowitz family heads up to the Catskills to spend a couple of months at a group of lakeside cabins. It’s the sort of place that middle-class families flock to, loading down their station wagons with bedding, kitchen supplies, and bathing suits for a couple of months of swimming and shuffle board.

Pearl Kantrowitz (Diane Lane, Unfaithful) is a typical, bored housewife. Pregnant at 17, she got married too young and knows that there’s something else out there, but she can’t quite figure out what it is. The United States is in a period of upheaval, and so is the Kantrowitz family.

In one of the opening scenes, the Kantrowitz’s pass a group of hippies on their way to the campground. Straight-laced husband Marty (Liev Schreiber) and his mother Lilian (Tovah Feldshuh, Kissing Jessica Stein) express their disapproval, but Pearl and 14-year-old daughter Alison (Anna Paquin, X-Men) are secretly intrigued. Alison is a nice kid who is beginning to explore the peace and love movement, but her mother makes it difficult to rebel as she’s having a sexual revolution of her own.

The older kids run a sort of summer camp with games and swimming lessons for the younger children, but the adults mainly relax and play cards. It’s a pretty insulated environment except when outside vendors arrive on the scene. Vacationers are alerted by P.A. announcer (Julie Kavner, a.k.a. Marge Simpson) that “the knish man is on the premises” or, a more enticing prospect, “the Blouse Man is on the premises.” The Blouse Man from previous years has retired, and his replacement is sexy hippy Walker Jerome (Viggo Mortensen). Walker travels from resort to resort selling his wares and charming the ladies, but he somehow manages not to appear sleazy.

Walker presents Pearl with a new style of blouse that he’s carrying -- a tie-dyed t-shirt-- and her desire for him is kindled. Their first sexual encounter takes place during the moon landing, and it’s a giant step for Pearl. No, the film isn’t subtle, but it’s certainly amusing. They also share a passionate afternoon at a gorgeous waterfall.

Alison’s summer fling with lifeguard Ross Epstein is not nearly as exciting. Ross is a nice Jewish boy, so even Alison’s grandmother approves of the relationship. Booooring! The only boys worth dating when you’re a teenager are the ones your parents don’t want you to.

While A Walk on the Moon is predicable in a lot of ways, writer Pamela Gray and director Tony Goldwyn do a fantastic job creating sympathetic characters. Alison is mildly angsty, but any 14-year-old would get a little stir-crazy after a few weeks at a family resort, especially with an annoying little brother like Danny (Bobby Boriello). The scene where Alison “becomes a woman” is painful to watch.

It would have been easy to paint Lilian as the evil mother-in-law stereotype, but the script and Feldshuh’s brilliant acting make this character well rounded. If anything, she’s a little too easy on Pearl when she suspects her daughter-in-law is cheating on her beloved son. If you’re familiar with Jewish culture, you’ll get a kick out of Lilian’s Yiddish phrases and the way she starts phone conversations mid-story with nary a “hello.”

Miraculously, viewers are able to feel for Pearl without hating her husband, a rarity in Hollywood. Marty, a television repairman who spends his weekends at the Catskills with his family, is kind-hearted and devoted to his children. He’s “a big square,” as Alison says, but he means well. The Blouse Man is a home wrecker, but he really appears to care about Pearl and wants her to enjoy herself.

One of the most memorable things about A Walk on the Moon is the soundtrack, featuring Jefferson Airplane and Jimi Hendrix classics.

A Walk on the Moon is a bit like Dirty Dancing-- highly enjoyable, escapist fun but certainly not a cinematic masterpiece. Check it out if you enjoy the nice- Jewish-girl-has-a-fling-with-a-sexy-stranger-at-a-Catskill-resort genre. It’s adorable and incredibly sweet. There should be more movies like this.




Recommended:
Yes

Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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