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Overall Rating

Worth A Look46.67%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 6.67%

1 review, 9 user ratings

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That Night
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by Greg Muskewitz

"Eliza Dushku is a find."
4 stars

It has always been a belief of mine that if you take an ordinary story and put it in the right hands, that the people in front of the camera could still captivate and enchant you. That's the case here with That Night (not a remake of the 1957 movie of the same name) where the delightful cast carries the movie pretty much on their own --especially with the help of a little newcomer.

Set during 1961 near the Cuban Missile Crisis, Alice Bloom, or "Ally, to friends" (Eliza Dushku) has mostly been alienated by her friends and family. (Point of irony: No one calls her Ally.) Her so-called friends use her as the scapegoat for teasing, and she's horribly neglected by her father. Ally envies her 17-year-old neighbor Sheryl (Juliette Lewis); she listens to the same records, wears the same perfume (Aquavelva), etc.

Sheryl, a Catholic daddy's girl, sees numerous amounts of guys, and is always an object of someone's affection. One guy in particular, Rick (C. Thomas Howell), a bad boy-type, who works at the local bowling alley, seems to have caught her eye. The pedestrian matter here is that of a Romeo and Juliet-type --after Sheryl's father dies, her mother becomes fretfully overprotective, and she's banned from seeing Rick.

After an ill-fated party where Alice's mean-spirited "friends" stick a frog in her mouth, she finally becomes acquainted with her idol. They hit it off fine, and Ally, being the smart cookie she is, figures that if she can get Sheryl to babysit her, they could sneak off and see Rick. For once, Ally finally feels like she belongs some place. Things take a turn for the worst when Sheryl gets pregnant and is sent away.

That Night is a suburban seriocomedy that emphasizes more of the drama and love. The period portrayed all looks very nice at a time when innocence was most absent. Lewis, bleached blonde here, gives off an ardent love with Howell and lights up their romance. Howell, unknown to me, benefits from that because the director Craig Bolotin, takes a querying approach to him. It's advantageous. Tough on the outside, lovable inside --it works for him.

The real find here is neophyte Eliza Dushku, an adorable, bright-faced youngster. Dushku's strength is the expressiveness in her face; the physiognomy she had down, nowhere hints that this is her debut. Her eyes glow and she really is a terrific find. You could genuinely see something working and going on behind those eyes.

Writer/director Bolotin seems interchangeable with other one-time directors because here he fails to designate any specific type of style or unique aesthetic contribution. I don't mean to sound so negative about him, because I would rather see Bolotin directing something else than many of Hollywood's hack directors, but I fail to see him striving to be an auteur. I felt that the story was mostly able to tell itself. Bolotin at least deserves credit for choosing above-average subjects to put in front of the camera.

Final Verdict: B.

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originally posted: 01/07/01 08:52:24
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User Comments

5/17/16 Zet Loved it. One of my favorites 5 stars
5/17/12 nidhi My favorite movie ever..... 5 stars
10/14/10 art this flick work's better than a SLEEPING PILL!,HA-HA! 1 stars
4/07/07 1 RHOyal Fiasco Love this movie... It's one of my favorites... 5 stars
4/21/04 khadijah jones that night was a great movie 5 stars
12/11/02 BAM A GREAT FILM 5 stars
6/12/02 Lawrence Davis Eliza Dushku is great 4 stars
8/04/01 Nash I had no expectations, but I found that I was utterly charmed, especially by Eliza Dushku. 5 stars
1/10/01 Darling Angel Wow, Greg liked Eliza. The world makes sense again. She is wonderful in this sweet movie 5 stars
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  02-Jul-1992 (PG-13)



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