By Don Simpson | June 6, 2013
Director: Tomer Almagor
Writer: Tomer Almagor
Starring: Amy Seimetz, Bret Roberts, Donal Logue, Brian McGuire, Foster Timms, Tipper Newton, Joey Capone, Dale Dicky, James Duval, Twink Caplan, Harry Dean Stanton, Pamela Adlon, Elana Krausz, Uri Averbuch, Al Sapienza, Lorielle New, Iris Bahr, Jade Dornfeld, Morty Coyle, Ron Artest, Chris Ivan Cevic
My mother once told me that a strong relationship never begins in a bar. I never took that advice very seriously, but if Lev (Bret Roberts) followed my mother’s advice 9 Full Moons would have developed into a much different film. It is during one fateful late night at a dive bar that Lev meets Frankie (Amy Seimetz). Knowing that Frankie has had a few too many drinks, Lev decides to leave her at the bar. Before he knows it, Frankie appears at his front doorstep.
The extraverted Frankie and introverted Lev commence a volatile relationship fueled by Frankie’s unabashed alcoholism and Lev’s work-related stress. It seems that a higher power is fixated upon keeping Frankie and Lev together, but it is difficult to surmise if that higher power is trying to torture or save them. At times it seems as though this might all just be a cruel joke. Regardless, they hold on for dear life to the reckless rollercoaster ride of their relationship. They acknowledge their imperfections as they wrestle with their own personal demons. Their only chance of taming the unruly rollercoaster is to confront their personal histories, thus developing a more honest relationship with themselves and each other.
Lev’s aforementioned work-related stress is due to a gig that could make or break his career in music. His best friend Ronnie (Brian McGuire) has set him up with a unique opportunity to produce the comeback album of a country music icon, Charlie King Nash’s (Donal Logue). Faced with revitalizing the career of his idol, Lev places insurmountable pressures upon himself. It does not help matters that Charlie is an egomaniacal and stubborn old mule who is not open to any of Lev’s suggestions. As Lev grows increasingly frustrated with the hopelessness of the situation, he unleashes his unhappiness upon the unsuspecting Frankie.
Like the cycles of the moon and the passing of the seasons, Frankie and Lev’s lives are ever-changing; there is always a new crest or trough around the corner. They are constantly learning from their trials and tribulations, which seems to propel them forward, allowing them to grow and mature along the way. Unfortunately, they are not always on the same track and their forward motion is rarely in unison. The hurky-jerky rhythm of their relationship gives writer-director Tomer Almagor ample opportunities to juxtapose transcendent moments of romantic beauty with the bitter rawness of anger and despair. Almagor’s astute navigation of Frankie and Lev’s highs and lows give the uncanny impression that he has experienced a lot of these emotions firsthand. Almagor tells this tale in present day Los Angeles, a world in which most couples throw in the towel at the early signs of rocky waters, lending Frankie and Lev a superhuman boost of tenaciousness. They are presented as an idealized example of why couples should stick out their bad times in the hopes for brighter days ahead.
While the quiet subtleties of Lev’s stoicism is handled quite adroitly by Bret Roberts, Frankie’s frenetic personality changes allow for Amy Seimetz to showcase her astounding range as an actor. Within the same scene, Seimetz is able to turn on a dime from ecstatically happy to devastatingly depressed, from angelically peaceful to devilishly destructive. Most importantly, every emotional twist and turn, no matter how sharp or subtle, always plays as convincingly realistic.