The Cat and the Moon Image

The Cat and the Moon

By Alan Ng | November 4, 2019

The film is mostly about what’s wrong with Nick. He’s forced to deal with the stress of his mother in rehab and his feelings about his late father. With no family, Nick must figure it out alone. Now in New York, he’s finally found friends…close friends. But even close friends have problems and it all surfaces to the top at the end. Seamus quickly becomes a brother to Nick. Then there’s Seamus’ girlfriend Eliza…well that becomes a complication. Russell, on the other hand, is a little out of control, and Nick has similar rage as Russell’s, only internalized.

It would be a mistake to write off The Cat and the Moon as some dark teen drama about a bunch of kids partying, more partying, and getting into trouble (is this what I have to look forward to as a parent of a pre-teen?). What Wolff does so brilliantly in his story is present Nick as this friendly kid with heavy baggage and thick walls, that are slowly torn down over time. He slowly lays out the facts of Nick’s life as we become more invested in its outcome.

“He slowly lays out the facts of Nick’s life as we become more invested in its outcome.”

Character development is another positive. Each role is a fully fleshed-out person with their own hang-ups playing against one another. Particularly amazing is the only “adult in the room” Mike Epps as Cal. Cal was in a successful jazz band with Nick’s father, and they were especially close…until the band broke up. My favorite scene is Cal confronting Nick about coming home late. Lastly, if you like jazz, you’ll love the film’s soundtrack and ending.

I still can’t believe this is Wolff’s first film as writer and director. He shows an excellent command of storytelling. There’s a lot of backstory and very little exposition (which can be a first-time filmmaker trap). His dialogue is natural and authentic to the age of its characters, and the way eventual conflicts between the friends play out feels unforced. The production values of the film are equally inspiring, and I can only say that the cast and crew truly believed enough in the story to back it financially as well as gather quality talent behind the scenes.

The Cat and the Moon (2019)

Directed and Written: Alex Wolff

Starring: Alex Wolff, Mike Epps, Skyler Gisondo, Stefania LaVie Owen, Tommy Nelson, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

The Cat and the Moon Image

"…a bunch of high schoolers finding camaraderie, while getting into some serious unsupervised shit."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon