"Box of Moonlight" (1996) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #93 Gem Mint 10.0


“Box of Moonlight“ (1996)

Director: Tom DiCillo

Writer: Tom DiCillo

Starring: John Turturro, Sam Rockwell, Catherine Keener, Lisa Blount, Annie Corley, Alexander Goodwin, Dermot Mulroney

Rated: R for language and some nudity

Runtime: 1h 52min

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Country: Japan | USA (when researching this I didn't see any filming locations in Japan or didn't think it would've been shot there, maybe distribution company or something)

Language: English


"An engineer finds his first gray hair, takes 6 days off from wife, son and work, rents a car and meets different people."


You might like this if you like: John Turturro, Sam Rockwell, Catherine Keener, Dramas, Comedies, Dramedies, Tom DiCillo, Mysteries, Lisa Blount, Annie Corley, Alexander Goodwin, Dermot Mulroney


John Turturro in "Box of Moonlight" (1996)


A magical, yet realer than real film that gave me pure joy and wonder! Huge shoutout to Jamie Caliri for reaching out to me to recommend this! It was everything I didn’t know I needed!


Going in, I chose to know as little as possible. All I knew was two of the leading cast members; John Turturro and Sam Rockwell. That was a duo that excited me enough to hop right in! Plus, I trusted that Caliri’s recommendation would be great!


So because I went in knowing nothing (and maybe you do too, so stop reading now and go watch this), I really was on the edge of my seat thinking the worst would happen around every corner. Now that doesn’t mean this film doesn’t have any conflict, it certainly does, otherwise why would be watching this story? But since I hadn’t seen a trailer or read a synopsis or even knew the genre, I was completely lost as to where it could go and I loved that. For older films especially, or just ones that aren’t brand new or in theaters, I try not to watch the trailers. Just depends. I like going in cold if possible.


Alexander Goodwin (left) & John Turturro (right) in "Box of Moonlight" (1996)


John Turturro played a role I hadn’t quite seen him do before. I’m used to him being the comic relief character, the only other leading role I saw of his I think was “Barton Fink” (1991) by the Coen Brothers, which was a unique role to its own. “Box of Moonlight” (1996) features him in our more everyday man role. It was refreshing. He wasn’t trying to be as hilarious as I was used to, not that I have a problem with his funny, I love him for that. Turturro is the best.


John Turturro (left) & Sam Rockwell (right) in "Box of Moonlight" (1996)


Sam Rockwell I had actually forgotten was in the movie by the time I hit play so it was a nice re-surprise when he showed up. He played a whole new side of funny with this character. Surprising me with new beats and freedom. Certainly the youngest I’ve ever seen Sam Rockwell. Wonderful character who eats THE best cereal. I’m a little too scared to try it myself. Afraid I might enjoy it too much.


Pleasant surprise for me was Catherine Keener who was also in arguably the youngest role I’ve seen her in. I love her character and the way she helps Turturro on his journey even in ways he didn’t know she was (phone call earlier). Also, Dermot Mulroney had an awesome little role in this!


Lisa Blount (left) & Catherine Keener (right) in "Box of Moonlight" (1996)


A beautiful escape into a fascinating little world full of heart and imagination. Loved the soundtrack, locations and the cast of characters on top of a viciously great script! Really loved how I was breaking down my own walls while watching this just like Al Fountain. Bravo Tom DiCillo! And thank you so much, Jamie for this fantastic recommendation!

Written by Sam Gall on 03/03/21


CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0


"There's wonderful chemistry between the eccentric John Turturro and the ever-likeable Sam Rockwell" Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com

"Charming, quirky little comedy with standout performance from Rockwell." Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)


"On one level a poignant elegy for the obsessive-compulsive, DiCillo's movie is unfashionably innocent and sweet, making it unlikely grist for the hype mill." Michael Atkinson, Spin

"Road movie about the spiritual transformation of an uptight and unhappy individual." Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality & Practice


Official Trailer:


Available on various VOD platforms


#BoxofMoonlight #JohnTurturro #SamRockwell #CatherineKeener #DermotMulroney #TomDiCillo #SamGallMovieReviews #MovieReview #ClassicMovies

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