NYC Coming Of Age Tale By Alex Wolff

A line-up of younger actors shine in the critically acclaimed The Cat and the Moon. The indie darling was a hit on the festival circuit, earning accolades for its young writer/director/star Alex Wolff. The stimulating coming-of-age story’s cast includes the aforementioned Alex Wolff (Hereditary), Skyler Gisondo (Feast of the Seven Fishes), Stefania LaVie Owen (Krampus), Mike Epps and Camrus Johnson.

While his mother is in rehab, high school student Nick (Alex Wolfe) is sent off to live with his deceased father’s old friend, Cal (Mike Epps). Staying in New York City, the troubled teenager quickly makes new friends at school like Seamus and roams the urban cityscape unchecked. Still dealing with the death of his father some years ago, Nick has anger and resentment issues bubbling under the surface. The troubled teenager’s life becomes more complicated when he starts developing feelings for Eliza, who is the girlfriend of Seamus.

A line-up of younger actors shine in the critically acclaimed The Cat and the Moon

Wolfe is something of a precocious wunderkind for Hollywood, having begun writing the script for this movie while still in high school. He also contributes musically to the film’s score and music. Filling The Cat and the Moon with autobiographical detail plucked from his own life, the nascent teenage melodrama comes off as sincere and genuine.

Wolff’s Nick is a moody, self-absorbed teenager struggling with life, still coping with the loss of his father. When he meets Eliza, things start looking different for the young man even as he gets into more trouble.

Thoughtful storytelling and an engaging screenplay make The Cat and the Moon genuine drama. The teenagers, especially Nick, receive skillfully rendered characterizations. There are some occasional missteps in the otherwise absorbing plot. An encounter with a drug dealer by Nick and his friends goes sideways. It’s a scene that feels plucked from another movie. Nick is often written as seventeen going on thirty. He’s a little too mature for the other teenage characters.

The Cat and the Moon smoothly deals with drug and anger issues, depicting teenagers growing up in New York City on the verge of adulthood. That sounds trite in summary but the character-driven drama treats them fairly without laying it on thick. Wolfe’s film is an interesting exploration of real high school problems led by a strong cast.

Video

FilmRise provides a satisfactory 2.40:1 presentation on Blu-ray for the 2019 film. The Cat and The Moon’s cinematography by Anthony Savini is soft without the sizzling clarity of digital filmmaking. The pedestrian transfer, struck from a digital intermediate, has adequate color reproduction and an even contrast. Depth and definition are reasonable in 1080P video. There’s little evidence of zealous over-processing.

The main feature runs 114 minutes, encoded in AVC on a BD-25. Hints of chroma noise and macroblocking can be seen when viewed on larger displays. The moody picture quality holds up well in interiors, almost better than the exteriors filmed in NYC. There are no major issues with black levels.

Audio

The indie feature receives a tasteful score bolstered by a mix of pop and rap songs. Tame Impala, Craig Mack, A$ap Rocky and other artists can be cleanly heard in crisp 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD MA soundtracks. There’s more surround activity than expected for a dialogue-driven drama.

The urban landscape’s variety of environmental noise fills out the sound design, offering rear immersion. Surround mixes are often a predictably dull afterthought in indie productions, which isn’t the case for The Cat and The Moon. Dialogue is placed fairly low in the mix, causing issues when much louder background music plays.

Optional English SDH subtitles play in a white font, partially outside the scope presentation.

Extras

FilmRise has a habit of calling any pressed Blu-ray they release a “special edition.” This special edition contains nothing extra besides the theatrical trailer and a photo gallery.

The Cat And The Moon Theatrical Trailer (01:37 in HD)

Photo Gallery (HD) – 92 different stills from the production play in sequence of their own accord.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

The Cat and the Moon
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  • Extras
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Alex Wolff’s coming-of-age tale about a troubled teenager offers authentic teen characters and occasionally absorbing drama.

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