‘To The Moon’ (2022) Review: A Dysfunctional Family Drama-Thriller

Scott Friend’s To The Moon begins with a couple heading to a family cabin in the woods alone. Dennis (Friend, who also acts in the film) and his wife Mia (Madeleine Morgenweck) deal with their issues and figure that some alone time in the family cabin would help them. While they solve their problems, Dennis’s weird, hippy brother arrives, and the dynamic shifts drastically. A creative and hilarious look at the tense familial relationship between these characters and how they get along with each other.

Dennis and Mia arrive at their family cabin in the woods to deal with problems in their relationship. He is an actor who has a substance abuse problem and Mia deals with the possibility that she might not be able to ice skate again. Internally, she struggles with a much bigger sadness that is, infertility. One morning, as they try to work out their career and marriage issues, Mia sees Dennis’s brother Roger (Will Brill) doing yoga in the backyard. Dennis and Roger’s relationship has been tricky but they have always been the complete opposite of each other. Roger comes with wisdom and guidance and he tries to help the married couple with their problems.

To The Moon provides a fascinating look at Dennis and Mia’s relationship. Their reactions to situations are different, especially Roger’s unexpected arrival and Dennis’s problems. While Mia forgives and prefers to move on from things, Dennis finds it hard to let go. However, while the viewers watch the trio’s dynamic as the movie progresses, Dennis’s reactions are understandable. Roger’s absence in Dennis’s life is explained when he retells the things he went through. Now he returns to help his brother. But Dennis doesn’t trust Roger, which escalates into him hallucinating his brother plotting something against him. As an audience, you’re not sure what or who you trust anymore. Dennis’s withdrawals lead him to sabotage his relationship with Mia even worse than before.

Friend frames the trio’s dynamic relationship playing with the genre’s capacity to shift between comedy and family drama. To The Moon blends these two aspects and shifts the narrative into a psychological, psychedelic thriller. The trip to the cabin leads to all sorts of mistrust and paranoia, unresolved conflicts waiting to peel off each layer. Even when these mixed elements, Friend creates a humorous ending to a weekend gone wrong. What’s even more interesting is that Roger and Dennis’s estranged relationship grows into a much bigger problem, especially in an isolated setting that heightens the tension.

To The Moon provides exceptional performances by Friend, Morgenweck and Brill. Their portrayals of these complex and misunderstood characters are excellent and subtle, especially Brill who provides one of the best performances in the entire movie. All families are dysfunctional, but Roger, Dennis and Mia’s dynamic is probably a study of the growing tension that turns into a mixture of sadness and relatable moments.

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