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Rent This: A Walk on the Moon
by Marcy Dermansky

You can’t rent “A Walk on the Moon” on DVD, which is a shame, given that there is a new breed of people who want spiffy menus and extra features, film snobs who think wide screen or bust. Not many people saw this small lovely film in the theaters, and I fear not many are going to rent it on video. Don’t fall into this trap. I recently watched "A Walk on the Moon" a second time at 4 am, a strange time to watch a movie, but I couldn’t sleep and was at absolute odds about what to do with myself.

“A Walk on the Moon” stars Diane Lane as Pearl Kantrowitz, a Jewish housewife in 1969 who married at the age of seventeen and still curls her hair in the summer of love.

The family goes to the Catskills for the summer. Husband Liev Schreiber has to work during the week, teenage daughter Anna Pacquin hates her parents, and there’s also the youngest son, a little boy who gets stung by wasps. Pearl finds herself inexplicably attracted to the blouse man (Viggo Mortensen) who sells his wears at the Catskills resort. The blouse man! He gives her a tie dye shirt and touches her shoulder, and Pearl’s lost.

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My mother also went nuts over this film. It’s a small movie-- but how many films are about a woman’s sexual awakening? A film that puts a woman’s desire before family without offering a moral judgment or offering a male fantasy? Pearl’s journey into adultery is not without consequence, of course, and she pays for the bliss she experiences under a waterfall. Diane Lane’s performance is lovely, her pain and pleasure achingly real.

Liev Schreiber also turns in the most sympathetic portrait of a cuckolded husband available on film. The Summer of Love is handsomely recreated including the Neil Armstrong's moonwalk and the Woodstock festival. The music in the film is a delight, the soundtrack containing songs of Joni Mitchell, the Grateful Dead, and Bob Dylan.

Don't worry about the missing fancy DVD menus and pop "A Walk on the Moon" into your VCR anytime.


Directed by Tony Goldwyn; written by Pamela Gray; director of photography, Anthony Richmond; edited by Dana Congdon; music by Mason Daring; production designer, Dan Leigh; produced by Dustin Hoffman, Goldwyn, Jay Cohen, Neil Koenigsberg, Lee Gottsegen and Murray Schisgal; released by Miramax Films.

WITH: Diane Lane (Pearl Kantrowitz), Viggo Mortensen (Walker Jerome), Liev Schreiber (Marty Kantrowitz), Anna Paquin (Alison Kantrowitz) and Tovah Feldshuh (Lilian Kantrowitz).

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