A sensitive coming-of-age story, THAT NIGHT is distinguished by fine performances, but undermined by the feeling that it could have been much more. 1957: As Sputnik orbits the Earth, Catholic teenager Sheryl O'Connor (Juliette Lewis) is coming to terms with maturity and a long line of
suitors at her suburban Long Island door. Living across the street is misfit 10-year-old Alice Bloom (Eliza Dushku), who worships Sheryl from afar, wearing the same perfume, listening to the same records, and living vicariously what she imagines to be Sheryl's life of endless romance.
Sheryl is smitten with the new night manager of the local bowling alley, Rick (C. Thomas Howell), a romantic tough guy rumored to have been in prison. Sheryl asks Alice to keep her secret and the two become friends. The neighbors begin to look askance as the romance heats up, and Sheryl's mother
(Helen Shaver) grounds her. Alice acts as go-between for the lovers, clashes with her own parents, and gets a tantalizing look at the forbidden world of teenage love under the boardwalk at Coney Island. Reality intrudes when Sheryl becomes pregnant and her mother sends her away to a home for
Director Craig Bolotin, who also wrote the screenplay, handles this adaptation of Alice McDermott's novel with charm, humor, sensitivity, and a refreshing lack of mawkishness, while Lewis gives a remarkably empathic performance. Still, these characters have potential power and depth that the movie
never really taps. Half a loaf is better than none in this case, but it's hard not to regret the missing half of THAT NIGHT.
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- Released: 1992
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: A sensitive coming-of-age story, THAT NIGHT is distinguished by fine performances, but undermined by the feeling that it could have been much more. 1957: As Sputnik orbits the Earth, Catholic teenager Sheryl O'Connor (Juliette Lewis) is coming to terms wit… (more)