Waiting for the Moon (1987)




Director:  Jill Godmilow.

Starring:  Linda Bassett (Gertrude Stein), Jacques Boudet (Guillaume Apollinaire), Pierre-Alain Chapuis (Priest), Linda Hunt (Alice B. Toklas), Bernadette Lafont (Fernande Olivier), Daniel Langlet (Monsieur Thiele), Mauricette Laurence (Helen), Andrew McCarthy (Henry Hopper), Bruce McGill (Ernest Hemingway).

A few months in the life of Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein.



Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire movie.

Gertrude Stein of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania has been living in France for twenty-two years.  Alice B. Toklas (Stein's lifelong partner) has been with her for nineteen years.  In the summer they live in the country and the rest of the time in Paris.  Alice notes that Gertrude was always thinking a great many things.  Gertrude was ill, then well.  She did not tell Alice, but Alice knew because she always read Gertrude's mail.  Gertrude seems to irritate Alice at times and Gertrude sends her flowers to make amends.   

Gertrude and Alice take a drive in their car.  On a country road they see a young man hitchhiking.  They stop and pick him up.  His name is Henry Hopper and he is from Pottsville, Pennsylvania.  He is on his way to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War.  Henry agrees to go with them to the house of Pablo Picasso where they pick up Fernande Olivier and go on a picnic with another friend, Willie.  Willie has collected a lot of wild mushrooms. 

Gertrude and Alice and others, along with American author Ernest Hemingway, practice putting on a play.  Hemingway keeps messing up his scene. 

Gertrude and Alice learn that Henry has been wounded by a shell burst and they don't think he will live.  They are both very upset over the news. 

Gertrude and Alice are stirred from their sleep to help take Hemingway out of a house of prostitution.  The macho author says that Alice is a saint and Gertrude is a jerk for not fully realizing that fact. 

Gertrude visits her doctor and learns that she is not going to die. 

Pauline brings her baby son via Willie to Gertrude and Alice.  She tells them that Willie is dead from eating wild mushrooms.  She says: "I must leave the baby with you."  The baby's name is also Willie. 


The movie is o.k.  It was interesting watching the two women interact and play with words and sentences.  They were really quite clever.  The film is not meant to be a documentary or even a semi-documentary.  The purpose is to give us a feel for the relationship between the two interesting women and the movie accomplishes that. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.


Historical Background: 


Artist model Fernande Olivier moved in with Picasso in 1905 and stayed until 1912. 



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