DVD Review: The Moment

STUDIO: Screen Media | DIRECTOR: Jane Weinstock | CAST: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Martin Henderson, Alia Shawkat, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Meat Loaf
DVD RELEASE DATE: 8/12/2014 | PRICE: DVD $24.98
SPECS: NR | 92 min. | Thriller | 1.78:1 widescreen | stereo

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes):
Movie | Audio | Video | Overall


The Moment is an engrossing psychological thriller fueled by a return-to-form star turn from an actress who was mumblecore before there was mumblecore: Jennifer Jason Leigh (Greenberg).

The Moment movie scene

Jennifer Jason Leigh is a troubled photojournalist in The Moment.

Lee (Jason Leigh) is a photojournalist traumatized after witnessing a suicide bombing in Somalia. At an exhibition of her work, she breaks down completely, furiously scratching an imaginary rash and appearing naked in front of the shocked attendees. She then finds herself at a pastoral rehab clinic, struggling to regain her memory and trying figure out if, in fact, she murdered her lover (Martin Henderson, Devil’s Knot).

Jason Leigh still exhibits some of the jaw-wired-shut delivery that presaged mumblecore; but whereas today’s younger mumblers (Greta Gerwig, anybody?) strain to project vacuity, she fills the screen with a neurotic dissonance that marked her performances in such Nineties’ entries Single White Female, Dolores Claibourne, and Georgia (which garnered her the New York Film Critics Award for Best Actress in 1995). And she can score verbal points as she did, hilariously, in Robert Altman’s Short Cuts.

The actress perfectly complements director/co-writer Jane Weinstock’’s subtly hallucinatory vision. As Lee’s memories are recovered, they blur with the present and the gaps that remain become ever more terrifying. Even Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Secrets and Lies), clipped and British as a psychiatrist, seems ominous in her therapeutic cliches. Has “how does that make you feel” ever sounded so sinister? Henderson is fine as the lover with dark corners of his own, and Alia Shawkat (Cedar Rapids) is believable as the annoying daughter who may be hiding the biggest secret of all.

Full disclosure: When I finished The Moment, I thought the ending was an anticlimax to a good ride. Upon reflection, however, I decided Weinstock’s was the courageous choice: we can dispel the shadows and things aren’t as bad as they seem.

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About David

David Leopold is an actor, writer and videographer who would take a Sherpa ride up a Tibetan mountain to see an Edwige Feuillère movie.