Combustible Celluloid
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With: Hugh Grant, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emmanuelle Seigner, Peter Coyote
Written by: Gerard Brach, John Brownjohn, Jeff Gross, Roman Polanski, based on the novel by Pascal Bruckner
Directed by: Roman Polanski
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 138
Date: 07/12/1992

Bitter Moon (1992)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Whip Lash

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Bitter Moon (1992) is one of director Roman Polanski's most underrated pictures, and a bit atypical, since it deals with the psychological balance between four people instead of just one. Normal British couple Hugh Grant and Kristin Scott Thomas are enjoying a quiet sea cruise together when American writer Peter Coyote begins worming in on their lives, telling Grant the story of his topsy-turvy relationship with the gorgeous French waitress Emmanuelle Seigner. It begins sweetly, but turns dark and violent and manipulative. Polanski tempers his tale by filtering it through Grant, who receives it with a combination of disgust and fascination. The film was not released in American theaters until 1994.

Kino Lorber released this still-underrated Polanski picture on Blu-ray in 2019, and it looks terrific. It comes with a commentary track by film historian Troy Howarth, a 25-minute interview with actor Coyote, trailers for this and other Kino Lorber releases, and optional English subtitles.

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