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Claire of the Moon (1992, 107 minutes)

October 3, 2010

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Summary:

A women writer’s retreat finds two unlikely roommates falling in love. Claire (Trisha Todd), a “straight” woman, and Noel (Karen Trumbo), a lesbian, find each other irresistible in spite of all their differences.

The Review:

You know, I have seen this movie countless time. I saw it two times at the theater and several times on video. If I had reviewed this movie the first time I saw it, surely my review would be different than it is now. Even my last viewing probably influenced this review. To say that this movie is bad is a complete understatement. The screenplay is filled with unintentional laughs. When I first saw it, my friends and I were cracking up every five seconds. The dialogue is forced, nothing these women say seems to be natural or real. The characters are so caricatured, they are hilarious. Claire and Noel, the leads, are the most realized people in the movie. Unfortunately, they too suffer from stereotyping (straight, gay, quiet, loud etc.). The other writers fall into their particular categories: the southern belle, the new age hippie and the innocent house wife. And of course, there is Maggie (Faith McDevitt).

Maggie is half the reason to watch this movie. Maggie (the organizer of the retreat) is drinking every time she is on screen, but that isn’t what is amusing (please don’t confuse me for a prude); it is the way this woman drinks that had me rolling on the floor. Every chug is a display of overacting, the open mouth awaits, the head tilts back, the bottle is forced upward. It’s great! Which of course, brings up the acting!

The acting in this movie is atrocious… starting with Maggie; and she isn’t the only one. The lines are so awkwardly delivered at times that one wonders if it is, after all, meant to be funny. One can’t solely blame the actresses, when the lines are so hokey and cliched. Case in point, Claire’s constant smoking and staring meaningfully out windows. The phony pretentious dialogue passes as deep philosophical conversation (this is the only movie I know that uses the word verbiage more than once). The film tries really hard to be a conversation about sexuality and feminism. If this movie was seriously concerned about the relationship between straight women and gay women, the leads wouldn’t have slept together (by the end there is one formerly straight woman).  The sexuality dialogue was nothing more than a cheap tool for getting them into bed. Although, Nicole Conn deserves some kudos for not shying away from identifying her lead as a lesbian and using that word with conviction throughout. Don’t let all this turn you off seeing the movie, you have to see it. Where else will you get countless lines that you and your friends can chuckle about for years to come?

On the other hand, there is the love story. I review movies on two levels for that reason. Claire of the Moon is somewhat satisfying as far as that was concerned. I read a reviewer say she didn’t like it because there was too much straight sex in it. It didn’t bother me for some reason. Maybe because in one scene she is so unconcerned about the man, she might as well have been using a vibrator. And of course the fantasy scene is one the funniest scenes in the movie. Claire approaching the man on the stool, over and over again, her hair flipping each time… I felt like I was stuck in a never ending loop. How could I take that scene seriously? On the other hand, there was one annoying part to the love story. The TEASING! Argh.. Ugh! It wasn’t that they would begin to get it on and then stop, at least there would have been real touching. Instead, they provide not one but two scenes were our leads get together and kiss and caress, only to find out it was a fantasy. Not only are we left wanting for more, but we are left with a sense that nothing happened, because it was only in fantasy. Hence, the only real satisfying touching occurs in the last 7 minutes or so. I would have preferred to follow the aftermath of this affair. It would have made for a more interesting movie.

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