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Bitter Moon

121 customer reviews

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(Jun 03, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Academy Award winning director Roman Polanski explores the sexy side of obsession and the wild side of romance in this outrageous look at the dark side of love. Starring Hugh Grant (About a Boy, Bridget Jones's Diary), Peter Coyote, Emmanuelle Seigner and Kristin Scott Thomas.

A mild-mannered man (Hugh Grant) attempts to rekindle the sexual fire of his marriage while on a vacation cruise. The only problem is he falls in love with another woman.

Offbeat and original, this voyage of wild obsession puts a whole new twist on the concept of marital bliss. Featuring dazzling performance and nasty comic moments, BITTER MOON is a hilarious walk on the wild side.

Unquestionably one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, Roman Polanski (Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, The Pianist) turns his talents to the realm of sexual perversity and its emotional toll. While on a Mediterranean cruise, Nigel and Fiona (Hugh Grant and Kristin Scott Thomas) find a young French woman named Mimi (Emmanuelle Seigner) crying in a bathroom. Mimi's paraplegic American husband Oscar (Peter Coyote) forces Nigel to listen to how Oscar and Mimi fell in love--as well as how they discovered kinky erotic games and finally arrived at a curdled, mutual sadism. Bitter Moon veers erratically from salacious erotica to black comedy to clumsy psychodrama, but individual scenes have a definite punch. Coyote chews the scenery with glee, Seigner (Polanski's wife, adding a hint of lurid autobiography) flounders moodily, and Grant seems miscast, but Scott Thomas gives the movie some actual dignity. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Hugh Grant, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emmanuelle Seigner, Peter Coyote, Victor Banerjee
  • Directors: Roman Polanski
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: New Line Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 3, 2003
  • Run Time: 139 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008YLV7
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,996 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Bitter Moon" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 94 people found the following review helpful By David Montgomery VINE VOICE on May 25, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Roman Polanski has never been accused of being a timid filmmaker. Over the years, his many movies have been distinguished by their potent subject matter and sure-handed direction. They are certainly not for everyone's taste, but those who like Polanski films tend to like them very much indeed. Bitter Moon is no different. It is one of the most frank and deliciously outrageous films I have seen in a long time.
The story begins with a very staid and proper British couple on an ocean voyage. Nigel and Fiona (Hugh Grant and Kristen Scott-Thomas) are hoping to rekindle the faint spark of romance that is left in their marriage. What they get instead is something much more than they bargained for.
Almost immediately, they meet Mimi (Emmanuelle Seigner), a seductive French femme fatale, and her crippled husband Oscar (Peter Coyote), a failed American writer. Oscar knows that Nigel desires Mimi and he is willing to accommodate him, but first Nigel must listen to the sordid story of their life together.
I don't want to give away too many of the details, for the shock of hearing their tale is the best part of the film. It is, at various turns, erotic, outrageous, outlandish, hilarious, titillating and unbelievable. What it is certainly not is boring. As we peek in on their bizarre sex life, first stimulated, then horrified, we are never quite sure what is true and what is fantasy. Against his better judgment, Nigel finds himself drawn into their twisted, little world and the results do not disappoint.
It seems that it always takes a European director to make a film such as this one. Americans are far too timid about sexuality to deal with it in an frank and adult manner.
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53 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Christian Hunter on April 20, 2004
Format: DVD
I was compelled to write this review based on the handfull of negative reviews (like the one below).
I think this movie is an absolute gem. First off, taking a step back, this movie isn't about two good people that meet and fall in love. I believe this movie is about what happens when two very base, very bored, and largely devoid of virtue collide. It's about the danger in irrational immoral entanglement (again, this is just my opinion). You see, the sex scenes (some of them anyway) are meant to be laughable. These two hit bottom together and reach (what Peter Coyote, the male partner calls) "sexual bankruptcy"....right in front of your eyes, they get slaughtered by their own insane urges! Brilliant, strange, interesting, depressing, important (especially if you're prone to confuse urges with love).
Peter Coyote gives an amazing performance, Polanski offered up his own wife (Emmanuelle Seigner) as the temptress (c'mon, you've got to give him at least one star for having enough love for this film to direct his own wife through sex scenes).
If you haven't seen Bitter Moon, don't miss this film. I think it raises important questions and warnings about certain popular behavior (or at least tendencies) in relationships. All the while being entertaining, and at times utterly shocking.
Hope this was helpful.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Nearly Nubile on February 26, 2004
Format: DVD
Bitter Moon is surely not for everyone. It's one of Polanski's audacious ones -- he seemed to be far beyond concern over matters of taste. And Emmanuelle Seigner -- easily the pivot of this bizarre tale -- never seemed miscast in a role as a voracious seductress with black widow tendencies, whose amusement is to blind men in the headlights of her sexuality, and step on the gas.
The word "promiscuous" was coined to describe films like this. Like all stories dealing with the extremes of sex, it arrives at moments when we can barely prevent ourselves from laughing (e.g., S&M combines humorless scenarios with absurd choreography.)
It is the easiest thing in the world to criticize movies like Bitter Moonshaking one's head wearily and complaining about the director's zany imagination. And of course a lot of it is wretched excess.
But Polanski directs it without compromise or apology, and it's a funny thing how so many reviewers may condescend to it, but while they're watching it you could hear a pin drop.
An enjoyable one, in a whacky could-they-really-do-that sort of a way.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Alexander C Boal on April 29, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I first saw this film years ago, and was immediately amazed at not only it's intensity, but where it deliberately dared to go, both with its storyline and dialogue. When I saw it again years later, I was even more impressed than previously thought. At it's essence, the movie is a love story, set in Paris, between Oscar (Peter Coyote) and Mimi, played by the stunningly beautifull Emmanuelle Seigner. Yet this ititial passion, escalates to a such a lust, that any true feelings they have for each other are overwhelmed by the desire to repeat that initial exeburance. Soon Oscar gets bored with the isolation that Mimi brings, and begins to resent their relationship. While Mimi, despite her threats to the contrary, can no longer live without Oscar, having become too drained emotionally to find love outside of their now passionless affair. What begins next, is the true mettle of this film, and takes it on a different course, one filled with chauvanistic cruelty, and female revenge.
All the while, this story is not being played out in real time, but retold, on a cruise ship, to stodgy British pip Hugh Grant, whose uneasiness during the more absurdly erotic scenes extends to the viewer as well. Grant, is on his honeymoon, with his wife Fiona, but due to his immediate attraction to Mimi, spends his days not with his wife, but in the cabin of Oscar. It is there, where he listens, like a voyeur, to the story of Oscar and Mimi in an effort to learn more about his new object of desire, and to parlay that into getting her into bed. What culminates at the end is both shocking and sad, and yet a resolution to the extreme passions of all involved.
It is not Roman Polanski's best film, but unlike Chinatown, his most entertaining. This movie does not lose it's luster after a couple of viewings. Recommend it to your friends, and go buy yourself a copy. Not to be missed, by any standard.
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