LockDown Movies: Bitter Moon (1992) the Blackest of Black Comedies


It’s problematic (to say the least) to attempt to untangle Roman Polanski the man from Polanski the director/writer.


That being said, lets take a look at his perhaps unfairly overlooked 1992 black comedy Bitter Moon.


Bitter Moon (1992) Trailer


A shaggy dog story told by a wheelchair bound would-be Henry Miller Oscar (Peter Coyote) to fellow cruise passenger Nigel (Hugh Grant, pre-Four Weddings), Bitter Moon is a cruel delight.


In a thankless role, Grant shines as a typical middle class Brit, repelled but at the same time turned on by Coyote’s tales of his Parisian seduction of Mimi (Polanski’s wife Emmanuelle Seigner) and their exploration of sexual limits –   followed by the inevitable ennui.


Kristin Scott Thomas stars as Grant’s prim wife Fiona, who gets sucked into Oscar and Mimi’s mind (and other) games.


Bitter Moon. 1992. Fiona & Mimi dance scene


Coyote is outstanding as the pretentious Oscar, a washed up failure of an author, pitifully evident in his overwrought narration.  A warning though – Bitter Moon can be almost unbearably (deliberately) cringe-making in parts, so be prepared for a stormy voyage. But if you’re in the mood…

Arnell Esq

Arnell Esq

Broadcast consultant - former Director/Creator of ITV3, ITV4 in the UK, producer/writer (most recently Bob Fosse for Sky Arts in May 2019), commentator/rent-a-gob for trades, broadsheets and magazines. Also occasional lecturer (University of Westminster, London). Content provider. Accept no substitute (terms & conditions apply) 'Nullum bonum amico, nullum peius hostes'