123 user 77 critic

Bitter Moon (1992)

1:49 | Trailer
After hearing stories of her, a passenger on a cruise ship develops an irresistible infatuation with an eccentric paraplegic's wife.


Roman Polanski


Pascal Bruckner (novel), Roman Polanski (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
4,088 ( 295)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Coyote ... Oscar
Emmanuelle Seigner ... Mimi
Hugh Grant ... Nigel
Kristin Scott Thomas ... Fiona
Victor Banerjee ... Mr. Singh
Sophie Patel Sophie Patel ... Amrita Singh
Patrick Albenque ... Steward
Smilja Mihailovitch Smilja Mihailovitch ... Bridge Player
Leo Eckmann Leo Eckmann ... Bridge Player
Luca Vellani Luca Vellani ... Dado
Richard Dieux Richard Dieux ... Partygoer
Danny Wuyts Danny Wuyts ... Bandleader (as Danny Garcy)
Daniel Dhubert Daniel Dhubert ... Bus Inspector
Nathalie Galán Nathalie Galán ... Girl in Boutique (as Nathalie Galan)
Eric Gonzales Eric Gonzales ... Cook


British couple Fiona (Dame Kristin Scott Thomas) and Nigel (Hugh Grant) are sailing to Istanbul en route to India. They encounter a beautiful French woman, and that night, Nigel meets her while dancing alone in the ship's bar. Later, he meets her crippled American husband Oscar (Peter Coyote), who tells him their story. While living in Paris for several years trying to be a writer, he becomes obsessed with a woman he met by chance on a bus. He tracks her down and they start a steamy love affair. Soon, Oscar finds himself enslaved body and soul by her love, and continues to tell Nigel the details of this relationship in various stages over several visits to Oscar's cabin. Written by Sami Al-Taher <staher2000@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Haß kann nur gedeihen, wo Liebe ist... [Hatred can only develop when there is love...] See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for the strong depiction of a perverse sexual relationship | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


This film and Once Upon a Time in America both had the same director of photography, Tonino delli Colli. Additionally, had James Woods who was originally cast as Oscar, not dropped out and been replaced by Peter Coyote, then both films would have had the same star. See more »


In the scene when Mimi cuts her hair for the first time and bakes a Turkey for Oscar, he is wearing the same turtle necked blue sweater that was ripped off with a razor blade during a previous sex game. See more »


Oscar: What happened to your dance classes?
Mimi: Dancing has to come from the heart.
Oscar: So?
Mimi: My heart is broken.
See more »


Featured in Indie Sex: Taboos (2001) See more »


Frangosyriani Kyra
Written by Markos Vamvakaris
See more »

User Reviews

Differences between sexes
12 February 2005 | by londonmhSee all my reviews

This movie, despite what many reviewers seem to think, is about the differences between men and women with respect to sex and love. Whether it is with Oscar and Mimi's intense, wild, no holds barred relationship, or with boring, bland Nigel and Fiona.

Generally speaking, men can have sex with any amount of women, in any way or intensity. If she is up for it, chances are we will be too. Women on the other hand, require more of an emotional connection to the men they sleep with. The need to develop trust and comfort before completely letting go.

Oscar is the ultimate poon hound and became instantly infatuated with Mimi. They start with a normal passionate relationship, but ultimately, the excitement wears off. This happens in any and every relationship. They hike up the intensity by getting into bondage, S&M, etc. All the while, Oscar is all to aware, they are heading for the their peak and once it hits the top, it is only down hill from there.

The thing is, for the man in this case, it is only about the sexual passion. The woman is truly in love and the sex is the connection to her man. Even when the sexual excitement wears off, Mimi is still in love.

So, enter the conflict. Oscar is done, wants out. Mimi can't handle it and doesn't understand why he could possibly not love her the way she loves him. He tries to be compassionate and break up but she refuses to be let go, ultimate agreeing to be his slave just to stay near him.

This story is being told to a couple who have also been together for 7 years and are off to reignite their marriage. I believe that the same factors are in play with the stuffy British couple, Nigel and Fiona but only in a far more repressed manner. He's bored because he and his wife are doing the "normal" thing. No wild, kinky sex for them. But the emotion of love is there. If a couple is going to stay together forever, they simply have to get over the fact that physical passion is fleeting and if the bond of love is strong on both sides, they can make it work. Nigel isn't clear on this until the climactic ending.

This commentary isn't so much on the details of the plot, but what I believe the movie is trying to get across. Read the other posts for more details, but to understand what the movie is saying, understand that sex is sex for men and sex is love for women.

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Official Sites:

Vidio [Indonesia]


France | UK


English | French

Release Date:

18 March 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bitter Moon See more »


Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$37,997, 20 March 1994

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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