Watch Escanaba in da Moonlight
- 1 hr 31 min
In the sleepy town of Escanaba in Michiganâs Upper Peninsula, hunting is not just a pastime, itâs a way of life. Thatâs especially true for the Soady family, who are preparing to embark on their annual deer hunting trip. But this year is different. Itâs 1989 and the Soady men are all plagued with the same curse: none of them have ever managed to bag a buck.
The story kicks off as Rueben Soady (played by Jeff Daniels) recounts the familyâs history of huntingâcomplete with fireside flashbacks that draw us into the mythic world of Escanabaâs deer-hunting culture. As the youngest of the Soady men, Rueben is particularly worried about breaking the century-old curse, and enlists his Native American wife Wolf Moon Dance (played by Kimberly Norris Guerrero) to help him do just that.
The story unfurls against a backdrop of snow and pines, as Rueben and his father Albert (played by Harve Presnell) share a small hunting cabin deep in the woods, with only a few comically vulgar items of decor to keep them company (a good oleâ deer butt ashtray!). The language and humor of the film are both raw and earthy, but the characters are ultimately heartwarming.
Despite its somewhat silly premise, Escanaba in da Moonlight is a movie that approaches its characters with depth and respect. Itâs a film about family, tradition, and the occasional wild skunk. The performances by Daniels and Presnell are particularly notable, as they balance the filmâs goofy irreverence with moments of real pathos.
Interspersed throughout the hunting hijinks are surreal moments that add a touch of the supernatural to the proceedings. As Rueben contemplates the mysterious presence of the âSpirit of the Buck,â weâre treated to some truly bizarre dream sequences that call to mind the work of David Lynch. But for all of its loopy aesthetics, Escanaba in da Moonlight manages to maintain a warm emotional core.
Despite the heavy focus on deer hunting, the movie has a universal message thatâs accessible to all. Itâs a film about the power of tradition, the importance of family, and the strange, inexplicable things that can happen when we venture outside of our comfort zones. Ultimately, itâs a story about the human experienceâand how weâre all searching for something, even if weâre not quite sure what it is.
While this movie may not be for everyone, itâs hard not to get wrapped up in the quirks, laughs and touching moments of Escanaba in da Moonlight. The film manages to be both raucous and poignant, bringing us along for a ride through the magnificent, snowy wilds of Michiganâs Upper Peninsula. Itâs a movie thatâs at once uniquely American, and universally human.
Escanaba in da Moonlight is a 2001 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 31 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.3.