The overwhelming triteness of Jane Weinstock’s The Moment, so predicated on a relentless mimicry of cinematic clichés, begins with its title and proceeds on from there to its first scene, with the disheveled, mentally unstable Lee (a wasted Jennifer Jason Leigh) leaving the umpteenth message on an ex’s answering machine about needing to pick up her stuff. She’s in front of his house and ends up going inside, seeing all the signs of an abandoned home and a missing person, including maggots clawing their way around grilled chicken thighs on the dinner table. Cut to the most familiar scene imaginable at a police station, with phones incessantly ringing and a cranky officer (Meat Loaf) belittling Lee’s worries about the missing ex because “People go missing all the time” and “Maybe he just doesn’t wanna see you.” Lee will make stops at an art gallery-exhibit, where she becomes delirious, develops a rash, remembers her time as a war photographer in God-forsaken Africa, and returns to the gallery naked from the restroom, all before being sent to a psychiatric institution. Throughout, and with the exception of a few seconds of silence during Lee’s sessions with a therapist played by Marianne Jean-Baptiste, every scene has been incessantly set to the most canned music imaginable. And as if the hackneyed gratuitousness of it all weren’t offensive enough, the script appropriates signs of seriousness—Africa, photography, the shrink’s British accent—in a seemingly desperate attempt to forge some kind of gravitas to an otherwise vacuous exercise in genre emulation. The genre, I suppose, would be a hybrid of a Lifetime movie focused on a “strong woman,” a run-of-the-mill murder mystery, and a yogurt commercial from hell.
- Dada Films
- 93 min
- Jane Weinstock
- Gloria Norris, Jane Weinstock
- Jennifer Jason Leigh, Martin Henderson, Alia Shawkat, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Meat Loaf
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