Paper Moon (1973)


paper moon “She always has to go to the bathroom. She must have a bladder the size of a peanut.” – Addie Loggins

Number of Times Seen – 1 (20 Mar 2016)

Brief Synopsis – A con-man teams up with a savvy 10 year old girl who may or may not be his daughter in the South during the Depression

My Take on it – I always enjoy movies with great dialogue, especially when they present great repartee between characters.

This movie fits into that category quite well because the dialogue really keeps us enthralled throughout.

The father-daughter team of Ryan and Tatum O’Neal is really wonderful to watch and it is quite easy to see why Tatum went on to win an Oscar for this role.  43 years later, she is still the youngest competitive Oscar winner ever.

Interestingly enough, this is a prime example of how the Academy has always chosen to place child actors in the supporting categories no matter how much of a lead their character’s actually are.  Tatum O’Neal appears in about 67 minutes (of 102) and somehow was still considered supporting.

By contrast, in The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Anthony Hopkins was in only 25 minutes (of 118) and he won lead and Judi Dench played Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare in Love (1998) for 6 of 123 minutes and was rightfully considered supporting.

The Academy has always chosen to place children in the supporting categories no matter how long their performances are which seems a bit strange especially in cases like this one where the role is clearly the lead.

The characters are written extremely well and despite them being con artists, we believe them so much because they seem real.

The story is laid out for us quite well but it has a few too many slow points which made parts of watching this a bit of a chore, but I’m glad I persevered because the end product is really good.

Bottom Line – Excellent performances by both O’Neals and I can fully understand how Tatum won an Oscar for this role. The story is good but is a bit slow for my taste despite it working well.  Most of the dialogue is superb and all of the characters feel sincere in everything that they do which means that they do their con-jobs quite well. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Peter Bogdanovich has said that the long, one-take sequence where Addie and Moze fight in the car about running out of Bibles took 2 days and 39 takes to get right. It was shot on a one-mile stretch of road just before hitting a very modern portion of the town, so each time a line was flubbed, they would have to turn everything around and drive back. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy

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6 thoughts on “Paper Moon (1973)

  1. I’ve seen this on TV, and you’re right. tatum’s acting is superb. And it is incomprehensible that her category was best supporting when it was so obvious she was the star of the film, and in fact, it was just the two of them in the movie.

    I’m wondering though if the nomination of the little girl who starred in The Exorcist was for Best acting category ?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I LOVE this film! Just makes me smile 🙂

    I’ve read the book too! I read it after watching the film and I think I enjoyed it more because I enjoyed visualising the characters as they were in the film.

    And those cigarettes she smoked were made of cabbage! True story!

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Supporting Actress – Oscars 1973 | MovieRob

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