Movie review: ‘Over the Moon’ shines
Four Stars out of Five
By Joanna MacGown
“Over the Moon” (now streaming on Netflix) is a movie with a fantastic aesthetic and a good message.
The story is about a Chinese girl named Fei and her fascination with the tale of the Chinese moon goddess, Chang’e, which becomes inextricably linked to her mother and her connection to her family.
There have been a surprising number of animated films recently that directly address grief. The angle “Over the Moon” chooses (learning to let go and move on with your life) is well-executed, if nothing groundbreaking.
Since this is a Chinese coproduction, the way it leans into Chinese culture works really well. I can easily see this as a gateway for children to learn about Chinese traditions, especially regarding the Lunar New Year.
While none of the songs are bad, the ones that aren’t by or about Chang’e tend to feel superfluous and a bit underwritten; the whole time, I was just waiting to get to the Moon already. But it was the annoying tagalong characters that kept me from giving this film that last star. While they do serve their respective purposes, I couldn’t help feeling like some of them could have been condensed or removed altogether to streamline the story.
Chang’e really is the centerpiece, though – everything that has to do with her is stunning. She’s voiced by Phillipa Soo (of Hamilton fame), and she gets plenty of space to flex that voice, both musically and emotionally. The Moon has a look alternately playful and elegant, standing out against the blackness with a neon color scheme.
It may not be perfect, but this is movie I would feel comfortable recommending to children and families as we head into the holiday season.