Mortal Thoughts (1991)

Demi Moore, Glenne Headly, Bruce Willis, John Pankow,
Two detectives interrogated a hairdresser on two homicides she may or may not have been involved in.
  • 5.7 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • William Reilly, Claude Kerven, Writer:
  • Alan Rudolph, Director:
  • John Fiedler, Mark Tarlov, Producer:

All subtitles:


9/10 / 10

Not being a fan of either Demi Moore or Bruce Willis, I was not preparedtobe blown away by both their performances in Mortal Thoughts. The twoactorsgive nuanced and very real performances as regular Jersey folks, andGlenneHeadly steals the movie. Demi (Cythia) and Glenne (Joyce) play lifelongfriends, both beauticians at Joyce's shop. Joyce is married to theinsufferable Jimmy (Willis), who alternately ignores, harasses, and hitsher, when he's not out partying. Joyce is constantly talking about killingJimmy, and since the movie begins during the investigation into his death,the movie raises your suspicion from the start.

The entire movie is told as a flashback during the police questioning ofCynthia, and Demi manages to bring to life a scared, distraught, exhaustedand defensive woman whose life as a simple mother of two has been turnedupside down. Harvey Keitel, as the lead investigator into the case, givesanamazing performance, supplying the audience with the right level of doubtabout Cynthia's story to keep the suspense flying until the end - and allwhile sitting in the same chair for most of the film! Glenne Headly showsjust how good she is as Joyce goes from kooky and fun to paranoid andpotentially dangerous. The ending manages to tie all the ends of themysteryup while grabbing at your emotions. Truly a satisfying film for a dark andstormy night.

6/10 / 10

Demi Moore,(Cynthia Kellogg),"G.I. Jane", played an exceptionallydifficult role, where she gets involved with a very abusive loverplayed by Bruce Willis,(James Urbanski) who has mood changes like theweather, hot, cold and goes completely nuts. I was beginning to lose mypatience with Cynthia because she never reported these incidents to thepolice in order to prevent this horrible human abuse. This is a goodfilm to show innocent women in this world, if you experience this typeof behavior, run to the nearest police station and turn this guy inimmediately. However, I must say that Bruce Willis did such a greatacting job, you actually grew to hate him and the role he played. GoodFilm, Enjoy

5/10 / 10

Bryan Singer's 'The Usual Suspects' was itself a rather unusualthriller: almost the entire plot consisted of a criminal suspecttelling the police a lie. By literally representing the character'swords in images, the film exploited the trust that any movie-watcherhas to put in what they see; the very concept of cinema only works ifthe audience can believe their own eyes, so it's a somewhat underhandtrick to take advantage of this. But 'The Usual Suspects' nonethelessworked as a film, for three reasons. Firstly, the lie wasextraordinarily entertaining in itself. Secondly, it's essentiallyfalsity was brilliantly revealed. And thirdly, this revelation forcedthe viewer to reconsider everything they had seen in the film. If allmovies were like this, cinema would die, but as an isolated film, itdefinitely made the grade.

Alan Rudolph's curiously named 'Mortal Thoughts' (surely "morbidthoughts" are actually what feature in this film) is a kind ofprecursor to 'The Usual Susepcts', but less acclaimed, and with goodreason. The basic tale is less interesting than in the later film;there's no cleverness in the revelation, and the actual truth does notanyway fundamentally change one's opinion of the characters. The filmdoesn't even try and fool the audience: Harvey Keitel's policeman tellsthe witness throughout that he doesn't believe what she is saying, andonce you accept that the woman may be lying, then the possibilities arelimitless (something Singer dealt with deftly by only uncovering thelie at the very end, before it truly sinks into the audience that ifthe story was a pack of lies, then the truth could be anything). Theresult is a film that is reasonably watchable, but hardlydistinguished. Yet in the true story, revealed at the end, there'sactually a tale of human drama that might have driven a pretty strongfilm. The secondary tale of someone merely lying about such a story,however, is comparatively dull.

7/10 / 10

First of all I have no idea why this was named "Mortal Thoughts." Moreappropriate would be, "Fatal Lies" or "An Inadvertent Confession," ormaybe "Desperate Friends." Be that as it may, this is a superiorthriller mainly because the story is compelling and the acting is firstrate. Demi Moore who plays Cynthia is just outstanding. She commandsthe screen with her beautiful and expressive features and her greatnatural skill. If you don't like her, I guarantee you will not likethis movie because she dominates the film. She is as vivid andunforgettable as an Al Pacino or a Betty Davis.

As an aside on the career of Demi Moore, I want to say that it's ashame for her that her off-screen personality is not well liked, whichin large part accounts for the fact that she is one of the mostunderrated, although one of the most often seen and hardest-workingstars of the last fifteen years or so. This movie is an example of howshe is ignored. The plain fact is her performance here is better thanmany who have won Oscars, and she wasn't even nominated. Anotherproblem for her is that this movie (and others she has made) are notthe sort of films that the Academy pays much attention to. MortalThoughts (which she co-produced, by the way) is too low-budget, too"common" one might say, for any part in it to be taken seriously in anartistic sense. Too bad.

Glenne Headly (Joyce) is also outstanding while Bruce Willis isexcellent as Joyce's drug-addled, boozing, wife-beating loser of ahusband. The dialogue is right on, realistically depicting the lives ofNew Jersey beauty shop people while the plot told in ersatz flashbacksunfolds nicely with a fine tension.

The story is that of two friends, Joyce and Cynthia who find they haveto cover up a killing (NOT a murder, but at worst a manslaughter, orbetter yet, a case of self-defense), but fall apart as theinvestigation closes in on them. In a sense they are both like LadyMacbeth with blood on their hands and no effective way to wash it off.They are both appropriately naive as young working-class women, andboth act foolishly, as many of us might in their predicament.

Here's a nice bit of ironic dialogue. Joyce is questioning her abilityto convince people about what happened. She tells Cynthia that sheisn't a very good liar. But Cynthia reassures her: "Joyce, you're aterrific liar. You just lost confidence in yourself." This is all tothe good as far as film-making goes. It is the ending that is theproblem.

One might ask, what happened to the ending? Maybe I need to watch thisagain to be sure I didn't miss anything. But better yet, YOU watch itand you be the judge. What I think happened is director Alan Rudolphtruncated it. Either that or he decided to try something artistic,which I don't recommend in a commercial thriller flick. Maybe they justran out of money and had to wrap it up. At any rate, we are leftwondering what is going to happen and who actually did what to whom.Presumably, the last flashback from Cynthia tells us how Bruce Willis'scharacter met his end, but that doesn't solve the problem of how or why(somebody else) was shot full of holes. Maybe the producers thoughtthey would wrap it all up in a sequel. Actually, there's enough therefor one, easily.

I would also like to complain about a movie that acts out a false storytold by one of the characters as though the story were true. That canbe done, but it must be done in such a way that there is some kind ofhint or "coloring" of the story that allows the viewer to suspect thatsomething is amiss. True, Det. John Woods (Harvey Keitel) makes somecompelling arguments along the way to suggest that Cynthia is nottelling the truth, but we are mislead by the actions that our eyes seeand the sounds that our ears hear. In movies, since anything can becontrived, it is the usual rule to have the camera show the truth whileletting the characters do the lying.

What might have saved this (and what I was expecting all the waythrough) is Joyce's side of the story acted out on screen so that wecould compare the stories and make our choice about who was telling thetruth.

Bottom line: better than one might expect with a realistic edge clearlya notch or two above the usual thriller fare.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cutto the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get itat Amazon!)

7/10 / 10

I caught this on TV last night, and decided to give it a go because itstarted Demi Moore and Bruce Willis.

Cynthia (Moore) comes forward to talk to detective John (Harvey Keitel)about the murder of her best friend's husband. The story is told as aseries of flashbacks... James (Willis) was a bullying, physicallyabusive husband. His wife Joyce has, on a number of occasions,expressed her intention to kill him.

All the cast do a fine job, Glenne Headly slightly over does it withher accent, but it's only a minor gripe. Willis is solid as the sleazyviolent husband, Keitel does what is required of him and then, there isMoore. This was the second of three Box Office disappointments she madeinbetween the success of Ghost and A Few Good Men.

It's a shame this never found an audience as Moore puts in a reallygood performance

For me, Demi Moore remains one of the most talented and beautiful womenin movies, and her sexiness is in rare supply. Any movie becomespromising just by having her name in it's cast.