Crazy Moon

May 1, 2020

crazymoonCrazy Moon is one of those relentlessly cute movies about a pair of mismatched misfits who find each other and fall in love. Except that, society being what it is, their love affair must be made rocky by the insensitive people around them.

The male misfit is Brooks (Kiefer Sutherland), a decidedly eccentric rich kid who listens exclusively to Big Band music and dresses as though the zoot suit never went out of style. The female misfit is Anne (Vanessa Vaughan), a deaf girl who is just summoning up the courage to speak out loud.

Their “meet cute” takes place at the clothing store where she works, when Brooks steals a mannequin from the window. Somehow this endears him to the girl, and they get together for some sustained hand-holding sessions.

That’s about all there is to this Canadian film, as Brooks helps Anne with her speaking, and she helps him with his – swimming? Well, it’s a start. In the meantime, Brooks is victimized by his jerky brother (Peter Spence) and questioned by his wealthy father, who thinks the boy needs psychiatric help.

The big problem with Crazy Moon is the cardboard atmosphere. The characters are either cute and good or mean and nasty. The villains are so one-dimensionally cruel they’re not believable for a second.

Director Allan Eastman pushes the quirkiness of the misfits to the point where it becomes laborious, which kills the intended spirit of whimsy. The contrivances of the script by Tom Berry and Stefan Wodoslawsky are ever so neat and tidy; sending Anne away to Europe at the finale, for instance, pushes the tear-duct button without sacrificing a happy ending.

The two lead actors battle the ponderous pixieness. Kiefer Sutherland, son of Donald, has been steadily developing his talents (he was the menacing heavy in Stand by Me). He isn’t called upon to be much more than dreamy and odd in this outing. Vaughan, who is a deaf actress, is an affable performer, although she’s forced to be overly perky throughout.

The film comes to life when it portrays the shy difficulties the two have with their communication problem. When Anne spray-paints the words “What is Music Like?” on a concrete playground, it introduces a potentially touching theme, one that might have been more affecting if it weren’t so very similar to another music scene in Children of a Lesser God. That film, which also features a deaf woman in love with a hearing man, obviously bears some resemblance to the central relationship in Crazy Moon. This new film seems diminished by the comparison.

First published in the Herald, July 26, 1987

Sutherland was sticking to his Canadian heritage here, with a shot-in-Quebec story and Canadian filmmakers. I sense it has not left much of a shadow. The director did a lot of TV and also the 1996 feature Danger Zone, with Billy Zane, Robert Downey, Jr., and Ron Silver. Must see that.