“That Night,” Warner Bros. release that opened nationally Friday, was reviewed by Daily Variety on Dec. 9, 1992, the date of its release in Australia.
In his review, David Stratton wrote that the pic is “a modestly affecting romantic drama set in the Long Island suburbs 30 years ago.
The familiar nostalgia evoked in Craig Bolotin’s first feature, backed by a potent soundtrack of hits of 1961, could generate some OK initial response, with interest in precocious Juliette Lewis’ first starring role adding to the appeal. However, soft B.O. looms in the long term for this lightweight pic.”
Opining, “Helmer seems to have pinned his faith on casting and performances,” Stratton stated, “Bolotin is particularly well-served by 12-year-old Eliza Bushku who, as Alice, is really the focus of the story.
“A shy, imaginative child, she lives with her parents across the way from her idol, Sheryl (Lewis), the seemingly sophisticated high school beauty who has everything Alice yearns for, including a close relationship with her father.
“When the father suddenly dies, Sheryl reacts by dating Rick (C. Thomas Howell), a boy from the wrong side of the tracks.
“The affair ends in Sheryl’s pregnancy, and she’s sent to a home for unmarried mothers in another part of the state. Only the concerned and observant Alice can guide Rick to the place where his girl has been sent.”
Review judged, “This isn’t exactly riveting material, and the film’s modest production values seem more suited to the small screen. Nevertheless, Bushku makes the hero-worshiping moppet an engaging character, and Howell is just right as every suburban mom’s idea of a daughter’s undesirable boyfriend. Lewis, her hair dyed blond, is more than adequate as the vivacious Sheryl.”