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Apr 26 2011

April Showers: Diane & Viggo 'Busy Being Free'

waterworks weeknights at 11 in April

Have you ever wondered why people don't talk more about Tony Goldwyn'sAWalk on the Moon(1999)?  It's one of those pictures that contains all sorts of stuff people came to love afterwards in embryonic or transformational stages.It was here thatDiane Lanepracticed the mesmerizingly guilty adulteress act that she'd be Oscar nominated for inUnfaithful(2002).It was the moment whenViggo Mortensen,so often backgrounded in pictures till then,revealed that he was a Star.It was also the mainstream bridge between Anna Paquin's sexually curious wicked child (The Piano) and sexually wicked curious psychic (True Blood) since she played one of her most ordinary roles as a teenager struggling with all the hormones swirling around inside her and outside of her as her screen mother (Lane) was also experiencing a sexual awakening.

It was even inA Walk On the MoonthatLiev Schreiberplayed the uptight wronged husband and,perhaps learning that Sex-On-A-Stick-Wife-Stealer was the better role,flipped parts forThe Painted Veil(2006),  bedding Naomi Watts (onscreen) which he's been doing ever since offscreen.Now,maybe we're reading too much into it.But the point is this: We likeA Walk on the Moon.

Mostly it's an enjoyable picture because Diane & Viggo were at the arguable peak of their screen beauty and looked even more sensational paired.Certain star pairings just elevate everything,right?And does any actress do 'aroused but totally conflicted about it' as well as Diane Lane?There are moments in this performance that are just mesmerizing like the one pictured above wherein she shyly lets Viggo give her a necklace,briefly daring to meet his gaze before dropping her head into his chest in submission.Her shyness is fascinatingly mixed in by the actress because the repetitive act of visiting his mobile clothing store is rather brazen;she knows instinctively what awaits her therein.Viggo is such a smooth and hypnotic ladykiller that her legs are over his shoulders before she's realized she's horizontal.Next thing you know,she's let her hair down metaphorically enough to experience sex in the outdoors.Under a waterfall,God's own high pressure shower.

More after the jump[mild nudity] including a question for film historians with a minor in sex scenes.

Their physical beauty aside,with the acknowledgement that it's very hard to set aside,the love scene is actually pretty steamy even if it's a bit derivative (wasDon't Look Nowthe movie that invented the editing technique of mixing pre and post-coital behavior directly into the sex scene for a before,during and after wraparound sensual effect?Any film historians know?)

While we're watching them enjoy God's awesome water pressure (have you ever stood under a waterfall?Wow,it's forceful) we're watching him coax her into leaping off a cliff.Get it?

A Walk on the Moonis so shameless about this big metaphor that it even underscores her sexual awakening / philandering with Joni Mitchell's "Cactus Tree".Which goes a little something like this.

There's a man who's been out sailing
In a decade full of dreams
And he takes her to a schooner
And he treats her like a queen
Bearing beads from California
With their amber stones and green
He has called her from the harbor
He has kissed her with his freedom
He has heard her off to starboard
In the breaking and the breathing
Of the water weeds
While she was busy being free

There's a man who's climbed a mountain
And he's calling out her name
And he hopes her heart can hear three thousand miles
He calls again
He can think her there beside him
He can miss her just the same
He has missed her in the forest
While he showed her all the flowers
And the branches sang the chorus
As he climbed the scaley towers
Of a forest tree
While she was somewhere being free

The best part of the scene is the laughter -- such great chemistry these two have and they haven't worked together again (sigh) -- and the relaxation that seems to settle into her.

Of course the joint probably helped with the relaxation part.

But be careful how busy your freedom gets.Next thing you know you're a middle-aged mom hanging with the stoned throngs at Woodstock while your daughter is losing her shit back home.

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Reader Comments (10)

Awesome post!!And such an underrated movie...

I first rented "A Walk On the Moon"after reading Nick Davis's entry on Lane for his Best Actress Project;once I got over the baffling ** evaluation of her scorching,indelible turn in "Unfaithful"I read on to find Nick was a huge fan of her performance in "AWOTM"three years earlier.And while I'll admit Pearl Kantrowitz's outdoor trysts and Woodstock highs are quite an achievement,they pail in comparison to Connie Sumner's infamous train home,guilty lunch with the girls and utterings of "On those days I'm calm and… hating myself".

Now that I think of it,it'd be fascinating to watch em back-to-back.

April 27,2011 | Unregistered CommenterRyan Steinke

Viggo was so damn beautiful in this movie.

I could be wrong but I am pretty sure that DLN is the first movie to edit its sex scene that way.I know Roeg did it because the censors FREAKED OUT over Christie and Sutherland's still-questionably-authentic humping,and it deflected attention,while also adding that bizarre hypnotic effect of unseating our sense of time that strangely feels so right when done in regards to a sex scene.I have friends who HATE it when this approach is used because logically its ridiculous,but that's what I like about it.Sex,when it's good,should upset our sense of place and time and shake our understanding of the very progression of our lives.

April 27,2011 | Unregistered CommenterJA

To me Diane Lane and Marisa Tomei are the most identifiable and relatable actresses working today.You can really connect with them and put yourself in their shoes.They make you feel like it could be happening to you if that makes sense.I would just die to see them work together sometime....:-)

April 27,2011 | Unregistered CommenterWendy Kroy

when i read 'mild nudity' i thought you meant on Viggo's part.Now I'm dissapointed that there wasnt any.haha

April 27,2011 | Unregistered CommenterNic

Great post - it reaffirms why I love this site as underrated gems are brought to the attention of other film fans.I love this film,great cast,witty script & a good soundtrack.

April 27,2011 | Unregistered CommenterSuzy Sue

A great post Nat - this film wasn't on my radar at all.Diane & Viggo?How did I let that slip by?

And no disappointment here on the female nudity - this particular lesbian thanks you very much!

April 27,2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

I love this movie!And thank you for reminding me why I love it so much.Now I need a shower.A cold one.

April 27,2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Great post!Really nice movie.Loved the costumes and the whole production design.I'm a sucker for that specific period.

I kind of discovered Diane Lane as a dramatic actress in this one too.Also in Grace & Glorie,a very little seen but adorable tv-movie she did with Gena Rowlands.

PS I've always been on Team Viggo.

April 27,2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

My favourite Viggo movie.I often think the role of "Walker Jerome"was pretty close to the real Viggo.

April 29,2011 | Unregistered CommenterMIssV

This film is on my to-watch-list now for already more than two years,but unluckily it is not easy to get it (here in Norway).My reason why I want to watch it is just what you wrote: I stumbled upon it as an old Viggo movie,then I read it also stars Diane Lane - I have to see it some time!

May 3,2011 | Unregistered CommenterIvonne

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