The theme for today's Valentine's Day Playlist is cynical love songs, which — like relationships themselves — can be both beautiful and bittersweet. The same can be said for one of my favorite romantic dramas, A Walk on the Moon, which one minute makes you hopeful about love then turns you into an utter pessimist the next.
This well-crafted story takes place at a Jewish summer retreat in the Catskills, where housewife Pearl Katrowitz (Diane Lane) is watching her daughter (Anna Paquin) revel in teenage freedom and wishing her own youth hadn't been cut short by an unexpected pregnancy. While her husband (Liev Shreiber) commutes back and forth to the city, she sparks up an affair with "the blouse man" (Viggo Mortensen), a wise hippie wanderer who sells clothes from a van.
You'll find yourself caught up in Pearl's giddiness as she imagines a completely different life for herself, and you'll feel just as guilty when her watchful mother-in-law (scene-stealer Tovah Feldshuh) reminds her about the family she's neglecting. Far from a cheesy chick-flick, this film is amazingly well-acted, alternately brimming with sexual novelty (two words: "Viggo" and "waterfall") and bitter regret.