Quite interesting…though it fails to maintain the momentum towards the end.

It was nice seeing Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Moment, as she’s a very talented woman and I have marveled at her skills after seeing her years ago in The Hudsucker Proxy (it’s one of the most underrated films of the decade and she was wonderful).  What surprised me, though, is that she is in her 50s and she sure looked amazingly young–and I thought she was a decade younger.  She’s also quite good in this movie, though the script occasionally let her and the audience down–though at other times, it’s quite clever and unusual.

The film is a bit difficult to follow at the beginning.  This is because the film jumps about sequentially–and continues to do so from time to time.  If you pay attention, this shouldn’t be a problem–but you really have to focus on what is occurring and when.  Because of this, I don’t recommend you watch it if you are tired or just want a casual viewing experience.

The Moment
Directed by
Jane Weinstock
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Martin Henderson, Alia Shawkat
Release Date
Out Now
Martin’s Grade: B

Leigh plays Lee (huh?), a successful photographer who is losing her mind.  Not surprisingly, she soon ends up in a psychiatric hospital–a very nice private clinic where she receives regular therapy.  Through the course of this treatment, her back story is revealed and it involves a guy named John (Martin Henderson).  John seems like a decent sort of guy and she’s soon in love with him.  However, there are VERY serious and unexpected consequences and soon John disappears.  Lee has convinced herself that she must have killed him, though her therapist assumes this is a manifestation of her mental illness.  Through the course of their time together as well as her new friendship with a man who looks almost EXACTLY like John (ALSO played by Martin Henderson), she comes to realize the truth as well as the truth about her troubled relationship with her daughter.
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I generally liked the film.  A few minor things, however, could have used a bit of polish.  One is a problem most folks won’t notice.  With my background as a psychotherapist as well as teaching psychology, I realized that either Lee’s therapist was not especially well written.  In most movies and TV shows, psychologists and psychiatrists are shown asking tons of questions and even uttering the stupid phrase ‘how does that make you feel?’–though universities teaching new therapists avoid these cliches mostly because they don’t help the therapeutic process.  While it wouldn’t look good in a movie, a good therapist actually says very little and pushes the patient to do most of the talking.  Again, however, most folks won’t know that this SHOULD be the case.  What most will recognize is that the resolution of the film isn’t completely satisfying and you may be left wondering if perhaps the film could have ended in a more satisfying manner.  Finally, with Martin Henderson playing nearly identical strangers–that is ridiculous.  So if I see these problems, why do I still give the movie a B?  Well, the acting is very good and quite convincing.  Additionally, the plot is creative and interesting too–even with a few hiccups.

by Martin Hafer