Jill Godmilow's earnest portrait of Gertrude Stein (Linda Bassett) and Alice B. Toklas (Linda Hunt) during their period together at 27 Rue de Fleurus in France is obviously the product of much heartfelt love for the duo. Too bad it's rambling, pedantic, and so overtly misanthropic that one wonders how any viewer could leech out the love within.
A small portrait of the duo, the bulk of Waiting for the Moon consists of vignettes from their daily rituals. Stein reads aloud from her dreary work to Toklas, who corrects it. They pick up an American hitchhiker (Andrew McCarthy) bound for the war in Spain and befriend him. They party with Ernest Hemingway (Bruce McGill). They bicker and make up. They wait for the moon to rise.
None of this goes much of anywhere, and the film is not helped by Godmilow's rough camerawork and stark camera angles that make us feel like we're watching a play -- a play in which the actors haven't rehearsed very much. That said, Hunt is typically terrific in a thankless role, and Bassett, at least, is such a dead ringer for Stein that you can't help but feel she's been reincarnated.
If you're looking for a great portrait of the Lost Generation, this isn't the movie you want, but Stein fans will not likely want to miss this rare chance to see her doppelganger in the flesh.
Run time: 88 mins
In Theaters: Monday 15th June 1987
Production compaines: American Playhouse, Skouras Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 40%
Fresh: 2 Rotten: 3
IMDB: 6.5 / 10
Director: Jill Godmilow
Producer: Sandra Schulberg
Screenwriter: Mark Magill
Starring: Linda Hunt as Alice B. Toklas, Linda Bassett as Gertrude Stein, Jacques Boudet as Guillaume Apollinaire, Andrew McCarthy as Henry Hopper, Bernadette Lafont as Fernande Olivier, Adolfo Vargas as Pablo Picasso (voice), Pierre-Alain Chapuis as Priest, Daniel Langlet as Monsieur Thiele, Michèle Gleizer as Madame Thiele, Bruce McGill as Ernest Hemingway, K.C. Schulberg as Stage Manager, Pascal Cambon as Sound Effects Man, Liliane Rovère as Bordello Madame, Brigitte Bellac as Prostitute, Jean Achache as Doctor, Mauricette Laurence as Helene, Catherine Dubuc as Pauline, Emilie Zinetti as Baby Willi