To See the Moon in the Morning Sky (2007) – By Timothy Martinez

 Eleven years after leaving a physically abusive husband, Hanna Lloyd is still struggling with life. She has recently lost her job, which means she can no longer afford to keep her daughter Christine in college. In addition, she finds that her young son Ricky has begun taking up some of the more unsavory and unwanted habits that his father once exhibited, namely gambling. To top things off, her mother decides it’s time to leave the retirement home and move back in with her daughter. Thrown into this mix is a bag of money found by Ricky, who decides to keep his discovery a secret. When the criminal who initially stole the money comes looking for it, the family will have even more trouble to contend with, especially when they find out just who the thief turns out to be. A thief by the way, who is determined to get his loot back no matter what it may take.

I can honestly say that it was a pleasure to see a new movie by director Peter Fields. Having been won over by some of his earlier work, it was like a reunion with an old friend to not only watch this film, but see many of the same faces that appeared in previous movies. Again, Fields has crafted an engaging film that never fails to keep one’s interest. Evenly paced and well plotted, for me the film is a throwback to the days when Hollywood could turn out meaningful stories without aid of big name actors or even big budgets. This film proves that all one needs is skill and determination, and not only can a great film that makes one think be the result, but a moving one as well. The plight of Hanna Lloyd is quite real and one to which too many people can probably relate.

In essence, this film seems (to me at least) to be about choices and the consequences of such. We can either be defined by all the choices we make – especially the bad ones – and let them shape our future, or we can strive to put our mistakes behind us and move forward. We see this theme in several forms. First, in Hanna’s choice to end her relationship with her husband and move out on her own, despite being pregnant. She does not let the bad situation continue and opts to do what is best for her children. Second, we see the path followed by her husband, Adam. Rather than engage in self-reflection, question his actions and resolve to change for the better, we see that he has taken the easy path and done the exact opposite. Now he is even more dangerous and untrustworthy than before. Finally, we see the choices made by Hanna and Adam’s son Ricky. Even at his young age, Ricky seems to be fast on the road to trouble. However, it’s when he realizes how much like his father he has become, and how much he does not like it, that he opts to change for the better, doing what his father could not. In the end, we are left with the idea that the paths we choose in life are ours and ours alone, though the support of family and friends will be there to help us.

This film, like the director’s previous ones, is highly recommended by this reviewer. It exhibits a skill and polish both before the camera with a solid cadre of actors, as well as behind it with accomplished writing, directing and editing. Definitely check this one out.

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