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Shoot the Moon
Shoot the Moon 1982.jpg
  • 1 Plot
  • 2 Cast
  • 3 Production
  • 4 Release
  • 5 Reception
  • 6 References
    • 6.1 Notes
    • Goldman began writing the script in 1971, deriving inspiration from his encounters with dysfunctional couples. He spent several years trying to secure a major film studio to produce it before taking it to 20th Century Fox. Parker learned of the script as he was developing Fame (1980), and he later worked with Goldman to rewrite it. After an unsuccessful pre-production development at Fox, Parker moved the project to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which provided a budget of $12 million. Principal photography lasted 62 days, in the period from January to April 1981, on location in Marin County.

      Shoot the Moon premiered on February 19, 1982 to mostly positive reviews, but was deemed a box-office failure, having grossed only $9.2 million in North America. It later competed for the Palme d'Or at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, and received two Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actor – Drama (Finney) and Best Actress – Drama (Keaton).

      In Marin County, California, writer George Dunlap and his wife Faith are an unhappy couple who live with their daughters Sherry, Jill, Marianne and Molly in a farmhouse that George has refurbished. George is preparing to attend an awards banquet in his honor, when he receives a phone call from Sandy, a single mother with whom he has begun an affair. Sherry, the oldest of the four children, picks up the phone and listens in on the conversation.

      After the children leave for school the next morning, Faith expresses her suspicions of the affair, prompting George to leave and move into his beach house. Sherry refuses to speak to George, while her sisters visit George on weekends. Jill, Marianne and Molly also meet Sandy, who harbors cynicism towards them and views them as a distraction in her sexual affair with George.

      Faith falls into depression, but is elated when she begins a relationship with Frank Henderson, a contractor she has hired to build a tennis court on the grove of the farmhouse. One day, George visits the farmhouse, aggressively requesting to Faith that he be able to give Sherry her birthday present, a typewriter. George grows frustrated upon meeting Frank and seeing the construction work being done to the yard. George returns to the home later that night, again demanding that he be able to give Sherry her present. When Faith refuses to let him in, George breaks the door apart, pushes her out of the house, and blocks the entrance door with a chair. After Sherry refuses the gift, George spanks her repeatedly. The other children try to fight him off, but George does not relent until after Sherry threatens him with a pair of scissors. After letting herself back into the house, Faith comforts a sobbing Sherry, and George leaves ashamed.

      George and Faith go to court to begin the first stage of their divorce proceedings, which involves joint custody of the children. After the court hearing, Faith tells George that her father has been hospitalized. At the hospital, they both downplay the disintegration of their marriage, but Faith's father senses that they are lying, and dies shortly thereafter.

      After the funeral, George finds Faith having dinner at a restaurant and joins her. They have a heated, passionate exchange, arguing about their relationship before getting drunk. They go to a hotel room where Faith and the children are staying, and have sex. After Sherry enters Faith's bedroom and finds them lying in bed, Faith asks George to leave.

      When the tennis court is completed, Faith and Frank throw an outdoor party at the farmhouse. Sherry scorns her mother for having sex with George and Frank before running away. She runs to George's beach house where she sees her father playing a game of Hearts with Sandy and her son. George looks out the window and sees Sherry sitting on a pier. He goes to comfort her and as they reconcile, he gives Sherry the typewriter.

      George returns Sherry to the farmhouse, where Faith invites him to visit the tennis court and meet Frank's friends. Under a seemingly friendly facade, George praises Frank for his work on the tennis court. He then goes into his car and crashes into the court repeatedly until it is demolished. Enraged, Frank pulls George out of the car and beats him relentlessly befo

      After the children leave for school the next morning, Faith expresses her suspicions of the affair, prompting George to leave and move into his beach house. Sherry refuses to speak to George, while her sisters visit George on weekends. Jill, Marianne and Molly also meet Sandy, who harbors cynicism towards them and views them as a distraction in her sexual affair with George.

      Faith falls into depression, but is elated when she begins a relationship with Frank Henderson, a contractor she has hired to build a tennis court on the grove of the farmhouse. One day, George visits the farmhouse, aggressively requesting to Faith that he be able to give Sherry her birthday present, a typewriter. George grows frustrated upon meeting Frank and seeing the construction work being done to the yard. George returns to the home later that night, again demanding that he be able to give Sherry her present. When Faith refuses to let him in, George breaks the door apart, pushes her out of the house, and blocks the entrance door with a chair. After Sherry refuses the gift, George spanks her repeatedly. The other children try to fight him off, but George does not relent until after Sherry threatens him with a pair of scissors. After letting herself back into the house, Faith comforts a sobbing Sherry, and George leaves ashamed.

      George and Faith go to court to begin the first stage of their divorce proceedings, which involves joint custody of the children. After the court hearing, Faith tells George that her father has been hospitalized. At the hospital, they both downplay the disintegration of their marriage, but Faith's father senses that they are lying, and dies shortly thereafter.

      After the funeral, George finds Faith having dinner at a restaurant and joins her. They have a heated, passionate exchange, arguing about their relationship before getting drunk. They go to a hotel room where Faith and the children are staying, and have sex. After Sherry enters Faith's bedroom and finds them lying in bed, Faith asks George to leave.

      When the tennis court is completed, Faith and Frank throw an outdoor party at the farmhouse. Sherry scorns her mother for having sex with George and Frank before running away. She runs to George's beach house where she sees her father playing a game of Hearts with Sandy and her son. George looks out the window and sees Sherry sitting on a pier. He goes to comfort her and as they reconcile, he gives Sherry the typewriter.

      George returns Sherry to the farmhouse, where Faith invites him to visit the tennis court and meet Frank's friends. Under a seemingly friendly facade, George praises Frank for his work on the tennis court. He then goes into his car and crashes into the court repeatedly until it is demolished. Enraged, Frank pulls George out of the car and beats him relentlessly before walking away. As the children try to comfort their father, George calls out for Faith, who takes his hand.

      Shoot the Moon was Bo Goldman's first attempt at writing a screenplay and was originally developed under the title Switching. He began writing the script in 1971, influenced by his encounters with dysfunctional couples and how their disputes affected their children.[6] "When I started to write this screenplay years ago," he said, "I looked around me and all the marriages were collapsing, and the real victims of these marital wars were the children."[6]

      For several years, Goldman tried to sell his script, without success.[6] Eventually, the script was picked up by 20th Century Fox after the commercial success of Star Wars (1977). Alan Ladd, Jr., president of Fox, sent the script to Alan Parker, as the director was beginning pre-production on Fame (1980). After filming Fame, Parker met with Goldman, and the two worked together to rewrite the script.[2] Among the changes, they moved the story from New York City to Marin County, California,[2] and retitled the script Shoot the Moon, a metaphoric title that references the move of "shooting the moon" in the card game Hearts.[7] After Ladd was fired from Fox in 1979, Parker discussed the project with Sherry Lansing, the studio's head of production, who balked at the film's proposed budget of $12 million.[2] Parker then discussed the project with David Begelman, head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), who agreed to green-light the film on the conditions that Parker stay on budget and secure Diane Keaton, a sought-after actress, in a leading role.[2]

      Casting