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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

08.23.2001

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flick pick | The Man in the Moon 1991
Directed by: Robert Mulligan
Written by: Jenny Wingfield
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Jason London, Sam Waterston, Tess Harper, Emily Warfield
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under:
drama
Watch it when youíre in the mood for something:
 
lovey, nostalgic
The critic says: Ĺ/ 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: / 5 (okay, not fun so much as supremely watchable)

Plot synopsis Stuck midway between childhood and young adulthood, fourteen year-old Dani Trant whiles away her summer days running wild through the backwoods of her small Louisiana town, but spends her nights mooning over Elvis and prying romantic advice from big sister Maureen. Maureenís seventeen, beautiful, and brilliant, and when Daniís not turning green with envy at Maureenís complete and total perfection, the two sisters are the best of friends. Maureen knows she should feel happier, what with everything sheís been blessed with in life, but she canít help but feel like somethingís missing, mainly true love. Surely, she thinks, there must be something better out there than unwanted late night gropings from her dumb lunk of a pseudo-boyfriend. Meanwhile, Daniís in the throes of her first real crush when cute Court Foster, the son of two old family friends, moves back into town with his now-widowed mom and two younger brothers. But though 17-year-old Court isnít completely insensitive to young Daniís charms, he just canít bring himself to truly return her feelings of adoration. Thereís something between them, he knows, but Courtís just not sure itís the sort of love Dani wants it to be. Then Court meets Maureen.

Review I donít cry during movies. Okay, sometimes the eyes might get a little moist, its true, but I have never, ever, been the sort of girl who likes to bawl over fictional characters. Normally. But The Man in the Moon had me sniffling, eyes welled up, not even bothering to fight it when eventually, those inevitable tears started streaming. This movieís a weeper, but itís a good weeper, sentimental but beautiful, a perfect love poem bathed in gorgeous golden hues. The movie looks exquisite, all yellow visions of lovely rural landscapes, but itís the two young stars that make The Man in the Moon so compelling Ė the scenes between Dani and Court just feel so naked and fragile and true. Jason London (not to be confused with equally cute twin brother Jeremy, he of Mallrats and Party of Five fame, unfortunately a very bad actor indeed) does a terrific job of showing the conflicted emotions that Court feels towards Dani, but itís Reese Witherspoon, as Dani, who owns this movie (her very first). Itís bizarre seeing Witherspoon looking so young, and still so Reese, both her talent and innate appeal Ė so sassy! so spunky! Ėvery much in evidence from the very beginning. Daniís story will appeal to just about anyone who can remember what it was like to find your first crush, fall madly, deeply, in love with the object of your affections, think maybe, just maybe they liked you a little back. And eventually, have your heart stomped on and squashed flat when that crush, inevitably, fell in love with somebody else. And if you canít identify with any of that, youíre either the luckiest person in the world, an amnesiac or just plain delusional. For the rest of us, rent The Man in the Moon, and make sure you have plenty of tissues. óreviewed by Y. Sun   

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