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Home Entertainment: ’To the Moon’ digital review

Since Pixar’s Inside Out the phrase ‘to the moon’ has become somewhat tainted. The term of endearment forms the final words of the buoyant and beloved character Bing Bong. Since that heart-wrenching scene it has become hard to hear those words and not think of him. Therefore for some, settling in to watch writer and director Scott Friend’s debut feature To the Moon will already be laced with emotion. 

To the Moon

It might seem strange to open a review of a non-children’s film with a comparison to a Pixar movie and yet in an odd way it’s relevant. In Friend’s story, the phrase ‘to the moon’ is used between married couple Dennis (played by Friend) and Mia (Madeleine Morgenweck) as a way of affirming their love. It carries the same emotional weight as in Inside Out but spins it into a more grown-up arena. The phrase itself also plays a key part in the story as Dennis and Mia are trying to rebuild their marriage with Dennis keen to take Mia to the moon, in a romantic sense at least. Recently let go from his role on a daytime television show, Dennis is at a crossroad in his career. He is also battling his drug addiction, not for the first time, and is determined to prove his commitment to Mia.  

In an effort to leave the temptations of the city behind, the couple retreat to Dennis’ family’s cabin in the woods. Dennis hopes the peace will give him a chance to face his demons and facilitate an environment for a proper reconciliation; and perhaps a start to some baby-making. A lot rests on the weekend being a success. Upon arrival, Dennis immediately finds his plans undone as his estranged brother Roger (Will Brill) has already claimed the building. Having not seen each other for years, with Mia having never met him before, the threesome begin an uneasy reconnection. Roger isn’t the man that Dennis remembers however, and whilst Mia is seduced by his simple charm, Dennis becomes suspicious about his brother’s intentions. 

A film with a lot of talking and musing on life, and the trials and tribulations that it presents, To the Moon takes its time getting to its destination. Friend is content to let his story progress slowly, more concerned with setting up character dynamics and interpersonal relationships. The narrative in the traditional sense happens in the background, thrusting the trio of Mia, Dennis, and Roger to the forefront. The three have a great chemistry, and a clear trust between them allows them to access some deeper and darker emotions. There are plenty of intimate and up close scenes and this foundation of trust reinforces the strength of their performances. Roger and Mia immediately form a tight relationship and this unsettles Dennis, throwing tension and jealousy into the mix.

One woman between two brothers is a story that has been told since stories started to be told. Here though Friend deviates from anticipated beats and presents a claustrophobic chamber piece that clouds everyone’s intentions. It’s only during the final few scenes that everyone’s true feelings and designs are revealed. The revelations kick the action from zero to a hundred and there’s a devilish wickedness to what Friend is hiding up his sleeve. All the prior character work pays off perfectly and the ending hits with an emotional punch to rival that of Bing Bong’s swansong. An intricately considered film, To the Moon proves that sometimes all you need is an interesting idea and talented cast. 

To the Moon

Kat Hughes

To the Moon


Slow and carefully constructed, To the Moon takes a while to get going in the traditional sense, but the viewer is never bored, thanks to three great central performances.


To the Moon is available on Digital now. 

Kat Hughes is a UK born film critic and interviewer who has a passion for horror films. An editor for THN, Kat is also a Rotten Tomatoes Approved Critic. She has bylines with Ghouls Magazine, Arrow Video, Film Stories, Certified Forgotten and FILMHOUNDS and has had essays published in home entertainment releases by Vinegar Syndrome and Second Sight. When not writing about horror, Kat hosts micro podcast Movies with Mummy along with her five-year-old daughter.


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