We first meet Al Fountain (John Turturro) at a remote construction site in the country, where he is the foreman. Immediately, we recognize who and what he is: The Boss; obsessive and meticulous about the work, tenacious in regard to detail. At the same time, it is obvious that he is sorely lacking when it comes to his relationship with his crew. Not that he is a bad guy; neither overbearing nor abusive with his employees, he is, in fact, somewhat personable in his own way. It's just that everything in his vision is so clearly cut in black and white. In the world of Al Fountain there are absolutely no shades of gray. This is further established when he phones his wife and young son to check in and give her an update on the job. When he tells her that one of the guys has invited him to play poker that night (much to the chagrin of the rest of the crew), she is ecstatic and encourages him to go. Clearly, she loves him, but knows how he is. When he quizzes his son on his multiplication tables and the response is unacceptable, flash cards are ordered. When Dad gets home there will be another quiz. In a brilliant metaphor, we see the flash cards as they are perceived by the boy; they are huge, nearly as big as he is, Marley's chains he must carry wherever he goes without respite.
When the job is abruptly closed down, Al finds himself with some time to reflect on his life, which he uncharacteristically embraces, prompted by an incident at the poker game the previous evening. At this point the story really begins, and we follow Al on a drive through the country, which ultimately becomes a journey of self-discovery. Along the way he meets 'The Kid,' (Sam Rockwell), a charismatic, though somewhat naive young man who lives alone in the remnants of a trailer situated on a secluded parcel of land far off the beaten path. It is a lifestyle that Al, initially, simply cannot comprehend. When The Kid explains that he lives 'off the grid,' it is beyond anything Al can fathom. In the end, this movie is a textured tale of awareness and the importance of setting one's personal priorities. Extremely well presented and acted, it is touching and poignant without the unnecessary burden (in this case) of undue sentiment.
The supporting cast includes Catherine Keener, Lisa Blount, Annie Corley and Dermot Mulroney. In 'Box of Moonlight,' writer-director Tom DiCillo offers us a journey that is well worth the taking. I rate this one 9/10