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Waiting for the Moon (1987)
Waiting for the Moon is a 1987 Twentieth Century Fox film about Gertrude Stein and her lover and assistant Alice B. Toklas, played by Linda Bassett and Linda Hunt. Set in the 1930s, it depicts the two women meeting Picasso and his lover Fernande Olivier (played by Bernadette Lafont), as well as the authors Ernest Hemingway (Bruce McGill), and Guillaume Apollinaire (Jacques Boudet). The film was written by Mark Magill and directed by Jill Godmilow.
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.