Directed by: #TomerAlmagor
Written by: Tomer Almagor
The story of romantic love which grows between two strangers after a chance encounter is a story as old as time. Writer and director Tomer Almagor, in his only full-length feature film to date, takes inspiration from this classic romantic format with his sombre drama, 9 Full Moons. It tells the story of Lev (Bret Roberts) and Frankie (Amy Seimetz), a young, dysfunctional couple who find love with each other in spite of the sad, chaotic troubles of their lives.
Making a movie which follows such a recognisable structure creates a series of challenges for any #filmmaker. Audiences have seen many similar stories, and as such there is a definite need to offer something refreshing and inventive. 9 Full Moons is able to capture moments of this kind of compelling ingenuity at times, particularly in the scenes which centre around Frankie. We follow her through a journey of pain, heartbreak and isolation, a journey which feels truly fulfilling by its end. From the sudden, blisteringly real attack on her character in the opening moments of the film onwards, it is obvious that Frankie is the most gripping of the two central characters. Amy Seimetz’s clever, genuine performance truly shines through. As the story progresses, we watch intently as Frankie’s awareness of the problematic nature of her emotional unpredictability and alcohol addiction slowly unfurls. This culminates in one devastating, brilliantly executed scene between herself and her ex-husband, Spencer, (Foster Timms), when she finally realises something needs to change.
However, sadly the #indiefilm is unable to find the right balance between her character and Lev’s. 9 Full Moons splits the screen time more or less equally between the pair, which feels almost like a mistake, as Lev’s narrative is far less intriguing. He rarely extends beyond being sullen, brooding and occasionally violent, and as such becomes difficult to either warm to or care about from an audience perspective. Furthermore, though a sense of character development initially begins to take shape in the film, it soon stalls, with the constant hints about his troubled past never truly leading to any kind of introspection or conclusion. In fact, Lev’s scenes may have been wholly unwatchable if not for the frequent appearances of the character of Charlie King Nash (Donal Logue), a genuinely amusing and lively inclusion.
This disparity between the appeal of the two main characters ultimately takes its toll. Though 9 Full Moons is not a wholly unenjoyable experience, it ultimately feels as though it is lacking the kind of unfaltering energy and flair which is required to keep hold of an audience’s attention for its entirety.