Movie Review: Moonlight Serenade (2009)

Posted: April 9, 2012 in Drama
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Nate Holden (Alec Newman) is a stock broker by day, who’s a jazz pianist by night.  Nate specializes in short selling stocks, which means if stocks go down, he and his firm make money.  Short selling sort of suits Nate, he’s a cynical hard-bitten type.  His mother died, seemingly from a alcohol or substance problem, and he doesn’t have a girlfriend, nor does he thinks he needs one.  He is a rising star at the brokerage firm, but to relax he goes to her jazz at a local club, and plays jazz standards on his piano at night.  One night while playing standards on his piano at home, Nate hears someone singing along, the voice belongs to a girl named Chloe (Amy Adams) who turns out to be a coat check girl at the local jazz club which Nate frequents. Their first meeting ends in an argument.

Chloe desperately needs someone to play piano for her for her one big break at the club, and Nate agrees.  Chloe stipulates that it be a professional arrangement alone, she has a boyfriend and even though he has some substance abuse problems of his own, Chloe is determined to stick with him.  But the more she and Nate play music together, the harder it is to deny an attraction.  They finally give in and consummate their relationship.  The change in Nate is almost immediate, instead of short selling his clients’ portfolios, he actually invest in those companies for the long term.  Things are looking up for Nate.  But just as quickly as things turn positive for Nate, he loses everything.  Chloe goes back to her boyfriend, and Nate’s investments go bad, and he gets fired.  What happens next?

This is a good movie, not your average romantic comedy.  I really enjoyed the contrast of the stuffy, uptight world of corporate America, and the non-structured world if jazz.  I also like how Nate’s relationship changes his investment strategy to a more positive one,  There is also a little subplot about unrequited love, between Nate and a co-worker, Angela, who he treats as a platonic friend, but who might actually have feelings for Nate.  The acting is very good, especially by Amy Adams, she plays a vulnerable girl, with a great voice, who is determined to make a bad relationship work.  She really did not seem to like the Nate character at first, and that seems genuine, not at all contrived.  The music is wonderful, all standards and Amy Adams sings all of them.  Alec Newman can be annoying, but can sing so that makes up for his acting. The production values aren’t great, but an innovative idea, great songs and good acting makes this a cut above the average romantic comedy.

Moonlight  Serenade: Good acting, good singing and all that jazz.

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