Oscar(r) nominees* Sam Waterston and Tess Harper and veteran actress Gail Strickland (Norma Rae) join three talented newcomers in this deeply moving film (Los Angeles Times) about coming of age and sexual discovery in ru... more »ral, 1950s Louisiana. Brilliantly directed by Robert Mulligan (To Kill a Mockingbird, The Summer of 42), The Man in the Moon is a poignant and bittersweet tale Roger Ebert calls a wonderful movie...a victory...a meticulously prepared masterpiece. Fourteen-year-old Dani (Reese Witherspoon) and her older sister Maureen (Emily Warfield) have always shared everything. But when Court Foster (Jason London) moves in next door, the sisters become rivals as Dani experiences her first feelings of affection and Maureen finds the true love she's longed for. But with love comes heartache, and the sisters soon learn a tough life lesson when tragedy strikes and the strength of their bond is the only thing that will keep theirhearts from breaking. *1984: Actor, The Killing Fields; 1986: Supporting Actress, Crimes of the Heart« less
DeAnn T. (Dee) from ARDMORE, OK Reviewed on 8/7/2011...
A friend told me about this movie. Since it was an older movie, I was not very interested at the time. However, I was browsing the DVDs on Netflix recently and ran across the movie. I have to say, the movie was an unexpected pleasure. Reece Witherspoon is an excellent little actress. I loved the movie. In fact, I just ordered a copy of the movie from a SwapaDVD member so I can add it to my own movie collection. Ladies it is a must see. You will love it.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Samantha T. (sadiebug) from W PORTSMOUTH, OH Reviewed on 11/26/2009...
I absolutely love this movie! Reese Witherspoon is great in this movie. It has a good story line and is very touching.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Patience H. (patience) from BUTLER, GA Reviewed on 8/23/2009...
I love this movie! It's a old one,all the old ones are great.
1 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Odd title for a wonderful film.
dsrussell | Corona, CA. United States | 06/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, I'm going to say this straight out. This is a family film (although it is rated PG-13). And yes, it will bring tears to your eyes. For those who are already heading for the hills, you'll be making a huge mistake. After all, it's directed by the same man (Robert Mulligan) who gave us "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "The Summer of 42"."The Man in the Moon" is a small film that came out in 1991 and I, among millions of others, missed its theatrical release. Heck, most missed its video release. This is really a shame because these movie treasures come far too infrequently. They get pigeon-holed and lumped together with all the other Hollywood-style attempts to depict family drama (which runs from the banal to okay, and even to pretty good). So I'm here to "unlump" it.This marvelous story centers around two teenage sisters, Dani and Maureen (age 14 and 17 respectively) and their attraction and love for the same boy (Court Foster, played nicely by Jason London). Set in the 1950s on a rural Louisiana farm, this film richly depicts the setting and ambience of this era. Much like "Stand by Me", it shows us the unfettered freedom that children had in a small, rural community in those days...a freedom sadly lacking today.Wonderfully acted throughout, special attention should go to Sam Waterston (the father), Tess Harper (the mother), and Reese Witherspoon (Dani). This is not, let me repeat, not an overblown melodrama. This movie knows exactly where it is going and it pin-points the target at every turn. Today, where "coming of age" films mean boy gets girl, this film takes a fresh and absolutely honest approach, catapulting it far above the others of this genre. Between 1 and 10, "The Man in the Moon" gets the highest mark, a 10. When one looks at the jacket, you'll see over-used words such as "poignant" and "bittersweet". All I can say is, believe it, for it is true. This one is a classic in the truest sense of the word."
"You're so pretty that it hurts!"
D. Knouse | vancouver, washington United States | 07/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As of this review this film has 75 reviews and a 4.9 cummulative rating. If that is not enough to make somebody at least rent this film... This is the style of film that harkens back to the days when a good script, solid acting, and inspired direction was all any studio needed to have a great film. This film has a fantastic coming-of-age tale set in 1950s Louisiana and is so often absolutely believable that I felt transported, even nostalgic for a time in which I was never even alive. Director Robert Mulligan, most famous for directing "To Kill a Mockingbird," has such a light, fluid touch with camera angles and complex panning sequences that it feels almost organic. The movie practically flows through you as you watch it. Then there are the splendid acting performances. Sam Waterston, a favorite actor of mine since "The Killing Fields," gives the whole package here from wit and strength to fear and being at a total loss for words when intense situations occur. Tess Harper has a more limited role, serving as a strong foundation as the mother and wife, but when the scene calls for it she shines accordingly. Jason London has some splendid scenes, particularly with both Reese Witherspoon and Emily Warfield who play sisters who both fall in love with the young man. Reese Witherspoon is very impressive here for being so young. Oftentimes, young actors are so mature for their ages that they have forgotten how to behave like a kid. Reese is exceptional here! Then there is Emily Warfield. Let me just quote Reese's character by saying, "You're so pretty that it hurts!" She is amazingly beautiful and uses so much subtlety in her performance that when she has to completely breakdown near the end it is truly visceral. There is so much said by all these character actors with exceptional facial expression and outstanding emotional rapport with one another, that by the time the story takes a tragic turn leaving the viewer stunned and wiping away tears, one cannot help but care about every character that remains. Most of the scenes leading up to the emotional ending are light-hearted and endearing, which in turn adds to the impact of an incredibly sad ending. Have some tissues handy. I've seen this film four times and even though I am prepared in mind for what I know will happen, I am blinking away tears and wiping my face repeatedly every time. But no ending in any character film I've ever seen can be sad if the viewer doesn't care about the characters and what they are doing througout the story. The price for this sparkling gem is spectacular! If you have a penchant for great acting and all around solid filmmaking then look no further than this endearing and ultimately heartwrenching film. 'sniff' Thank you."
A Tender Story
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 05/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This poignant and tender coming of age story is a small but beautiful film many have not had the opportunity to see. It is set in rural Louisiana during the 1950's and is beautifully photographed and filled with love and tenderness. The focal point of director Robert Mulligan's fine film is a very young Reese Witherspoon. The story of first love and the tragedy that follows will touch you in a way you'll remember for a long time.
Sam Waterson is the kind and gentle husband and father who knows his two daughters are growing up faster than he can blink and has one more on the way. Tess Harper has another fine turn as his loving wife Abigail. There is a very human and peaceful feel to this film that works its way into your heart slowly and remains there long after the closing credits.
Dani (Reese Witherspoon) is the spunky but tender-hearted 14 year old younger sister who is beginning to cross the waters from child to young womanhood. Her adolescent crush on Elvis Presley changes to something real when 17 year old Court Foster (Jason London) enters the picture. They both like to swim in the lake and become something more than friends but something less than a couple. Their relationship is handled in such a sweet and thoughtful manner you find youself embracing this film with your heart early on.
But as much as Court cares about her she is too young for him and when chance brings he and her older sister Maureen (Emily Wakefield) together nature takes its course and someone's heart is bound to break. This is a good and loving family and Dani and her older sister Maureen are close. They bicker as sisters do but Dani secretly worships Maureen and wants to be like her. Maureen loves Dani just as much but can't pass up the love of her life no matter how hard she might try.
Court is also portrayed as a very decent kid with the weight of the world on his shoulders who is trying to do the right thing and still be happy. Everthing about this feels real, as there are no good guys and bad guys, just a truthful portrait of young love and growing up. Witherspoon is amazing and you can truly feel her heart breaking as she begins to disappear, only her memories of the lake and her first kiss to comfort her.
It will take even more than a tragedy to bring Dani and Maureen back together and it is the wise and gentle father who takes Dani fishing and talks to her in a way every father hopes he will talk to his daughter under similar circumstances. Everyone is wonderful in this fine film and I am amazed it is not more widely known. It is truly something special.
I will not reveal what happens in the last part of this film but at the beginning we find Dani and Maureen talking on their front porch about "The Man in the Moon." Their mother always told them when they were young to tell their troubles to him and just keep talking untill they were all gone. Both Dani and Maureen discover when things are bleakest that "The Man in the Moon" is truly each other.
This film is bittersweet and heartrending. It is a wonderful find and different from just about anything else you will see on the subject matter. It is a film you'll want to own and watch over and over."
"This much admired 1991 sleeper is noteworthy for several reasons. It introduced the remarkable young actress Reese Witherspoon to the viewing public--or at least that portion of the viewing public that bothered to see it. It also made a for a successful (de facto) "coming of age" trilogy for director Robert Mulligan, among whose previous successes were TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and THE SUMMER OF '42. It also had beautiful, evocative cinematography by Freddie Francis.
And it gets its 1950s feel just about right (although I did find myself asking, "Did 14 year olds really say 'WHATEVER' in 1957?")
The story is simple and sweet. Young girl meets slightly older boy, who in turn falls for her older sister. Sibling rivalry for the affections of a third party is a tale older than Childe Ballads, but the intelligent script and sensitive direction makes MAN IN THE MOON something special. For the first hour or so, the film hits nary a false note.
And then it did--at least for me. I don't like to second guess any narrative development, but I found the film's ending a bit of a let-down. (SPOILER WARNING!) The fact that the girls' heated rivalry for their neighbor's affection is interrupted by tragedy, a tragedy that ultimately leads to their reconciliation, seems almost too easy dramatically. Or maybe it's just too rushed. Fourteen year old Dani's flirtation with the older neighbor Court proceeds almost languidly, but his torrid romance with older sister Maureen takes up maybe 15 minutes of screen time. Court's demise is premature in more ways than one.
I would have preferred to see the older teens' relationship detailed more. Maureen's loss might have ultimately have seemed more profound then. One can argue of course that at 17, a brief relationship can have all the force and drama of longstanding affair. Agreed, but how long did the two star crossed lovers actually have. A day and a half? The dramatic possibilities of their love and the sisters' rivalry are ultimately curbed.
It's an arguable point, and knowing me, should I re-view this film in a month or so, I'll likely find that it flows perfectly and wonder what the heck I was complaining about. Still I hope other admirers of this movie will understand when I say that I probably just a bit frustrated because I wanted the movie to be a little longer. I think they might agree that it would be nice to get to know these wonderful characters a little better.
While Reese Witherspoon deserves the attention her debut role brought her, it should probably be mentioned that ALL the performances are spot on. You expect as much from veterans Tess Harper and Sam Waterston, but the other young actors are also remarkable. Jason London projects both the ease and the awkwardness of a seventeen year old just growing into his own body. Emily Warfield, who unfortunately seems to have no screen credits since 1995, is equally good as the remarkably self-aware and poised Maureen.
And if they ever wanted to make a sequel, I'd recommend following up with the story of Court's mom played beautifully by Gail Strickland. She's one character I wanted to know more about. Losing both her husband and her son in separate farm accidents within a short span of time would, of course, be devastating. But Strickland projects such strength and steely reserve that one can only imagine that her continuing story would be fascinating. "
A Beautiful, Heartbreaking Film
Gregor von Kallahann | 07/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Man in the Moon" is a beautifully realistic look at life, through the eyes of an adolescent. Director Robert Mulligan magically re-creates screenwriter Jenny Wingfield's autobiography of her childhood through gorgeous cinematography and a haunting, lyrical musical score. This film hits home as one of the most powerful and emotionally affecting films in recent times.This film is incredible, all the acting first rate, especially Sam Waterston and an astonishing performance by Reese Witherspoon in her film debut. You will feel every emotion as this life changing summer in 1957 on the Trant family farm comes to a conclusion."The Man in the Moon" is wonderful movie that everyone will enjoy, and since it was a limited release in 1991, you will be sure that most of you're friends and family will have never heard of it. Buy this dvd and enjoy 100 minutes of pure poetic art. This film truely is the essence of filmaking at its finest."