last updated - Sunday, February 1, 2015.
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As P.T. Barnum put it, "There's a sucker born every minute."
During the Great Depression, a con man finds himself saddled with a young girl who may or may not be his daughter, and the two forge an unlikely partnership.
Sweet, but not surgery; very witty, but much more than merely relying on character quirks to carry it; and cutting and powerful along the way in its look at depression-era America through a charming and fun scape of family relationships and road trips, Paper Moon is a little treasure of some lovely incarnation. Capturing livelihood amidst a time of sorrow and telling a story of sweet eccentrics coming through and causing a bonafide ruckus, it's a perfectly balanced charmer by the likes of which we sadly don't see anymore.
A nifty little con game between two unlikely perfect matches, who may just even be a father and daughter team - the recently deceased mother of young Addie did get around…
Peter Bogdanovich not only evokes the look of the 1930s with the costumes, sets, and props of Paper Moon, but the feel as well; sweeping, graceful pans, stark close-ups, and plenty of low-angle shots all feel as if little Addie Pray went right on to star in a Little Rascals short once filming wrapped here. It is amazing that the decision to film in black and white is one of the least noticeable aspects of its imitation of a bygone era of film-making.
Besides being a technical marvel, what else does Paper Moon have going for it? It turns out, plenty:
One of the defining characteristics of good acting is appearing as if you're not acting at all. Tatum O'Neal…
My second movie by Peter Bogdanovich, and it's even better than the first one. Paper Moon is such a sweet movie. The main two characters are phenomenal, their chemistry is fantastic. I really like road movies and con-man movies, and this has a bit of both. The real life father and daughter, Ryan and Tatum O'Neil, play 2 characters who may or may not share that very same relationship. The casting is really great. Little Tatum O'Neil got an Oscar for her performance here, and I think it's totally deserved. This is a really charming movie, one of the best movies of 1973 for sure. Watch it if you haven't already.
Peter Bogdanovich made a great little movie here. It seems like he's mostly an actor now, do they not let him direct anymore? Either way, Paper Moon is a very good comedy with one of the greatest child performances ever, Addie Loggins played by Tatum O'neal.
I've had this in my Netflix queue for a long time and I've had little interest to watch it even though Netflix suggested star rating was something like 4.5. A couple days ago I saw a short clip on Youtube and I was happy to see the movie was nothing like I expected it to be. It's a black and white film set during the great depression, and it certainly isn't a movie for kids.
The script is smart and the performances are great. You can't ask for much more from a film like this.
Of course the acting is fantastic between the father-daughter duo...but it was the cinematography that really stuck out to me.
There was something so peculiar about it. It's so placid and stark, and I couldn't quite place my finger to it. But then it dawned on me, it looks a bit like a Ansel Adams photo (example)
What's so unique about it is that it uses a red-filter to cut out the blue colors. As I researched, I found out that Orson Welles suggested this technique to director Peter Bogdanovich. Why? I'm not entirely sure why he thought it was the best way, but it seems to add great atmosphere to the film as well as providing striking imagery.
Really a fun watch, if only for Tatum O'Neal's immense first time effort and her chemistry with her father.
Even when the characters stare at one another, you can feel the intangible emotional thread that binds them. How many odd couple movies do you know that has achieved this?
Set in a bygone and forgotten era yet the thrills and the charm will never wither away.
Take a bow, Tatum O'Neal! You deserved the gold statue.
A sucker born every minute
In the 1930s, a precocious nine year-old girl travels the American Midwest with a con man who may or may not be her father. Beautifully austere comedy is funny, evocative, oddly touching, and flawlessly performed (particularly by nine year-old Tatum O’Neal, who won an Oscar). Sadly, this admirably restrained mini-classic was Bogdanovich’s last hurrah before descending into nostalgic kitsch. Terrific black-and-white cinematography from Laszlo Kovacs.
A little slow to start this movie is a touching series of episodes in the lives of two lonely souls in the great depression. Its a Hollywood cliche to have two individuals start out disliking one another only for affection to bloom from their relationship but rarely have I ever seen that plot executed as well as it is here. The stark cinematography and excellent performances by the two leads create a well rounded experience that can really tug at the heartstrings.
Damn great movie.
Bogdanovich manages to portray a depressed 30's America accurately. The landscape is bleak, the people are desperate, and life is hard. And yet, within that landscape he manages to tell a story that is equally sweet and funny and warm. Ryan and Tatum O'Neal's chemistry is infectiously fun and the various cons that they come up with frequently made me laugh and smile.
It's only when they move away from the cons that the movie loses it's steam just a little bit - but again the O'Neal's manage to pull those sections through.
I can't wait till my daughter is old enough to watch it with me.
Cinema has thought me many things but lately I've learned how important figure some kind of "father" is in young girl's life (I saw Somewhere the other night and now this!). I love these kind of portrayals where relationship between kid and adult is on spotlight. The result, of course, can be something from extremely awful to the most beautiful cinema ever made. In Paper Moon, the chemistry works without problems. One might say that of course since they are father and daughter outside the screen as well but there are other personal life factors that could repeal it. The most important thing is what we see on the screen and what we have here... it's something beautiful and real…
PAPER M-O-O-N that spells delightfult. Huge influence of reams of films; I know Rian Johnson is a huge fan, and I'd wager "I want my two hundred dollars!" was Holland's nod in BETTER OFF DEAD. Lovely cinematography by Kovacs, and that's got to The Ryan of the O'Neal's best role.
I'm not up on the Best Supporting Actress perfs of 1973, but if there's a perf better than Tatum of the O'Neal's then it must've been a whopper. She steals everything.
Whip-smart and enjoyable con man caper. I can see why Tatum O'Neal won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. She and Ryan O'Neal are excellent as a con man/con little girl twosome. One of my favorite movies is THE DRIVER where O'Neal barely says a complete sentence, so seeing him as a motormouth flim-flam artist was especially enjoyable. Beautifully shot B&W photography!
Paper Moon features one of the most singular and memorable screen relationships I've ever seen, meandering between resentment, friendship, antagonism, and ultimately peaceful acceptance.
‘Paper Moon’ pulls off a fascinating trick. The film manages a delightful starkness without handicapping its humour and emotion, and it’s exactly that starkness that stops it from veering into schmaltz or outright detachment. It has the larger cosmic awareness of a Coen Brothers film, the quaint subtlety of early Wes Anderson, and some third element I can’t put my finger on. All I can say for sure is that Chris Pratt would be eerily similar if cast in Ryan O’Neal’s role. A treasure.
last updated - Sunday, February 1, 2015.
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
[after his parents have left, thinking he is ill] "They bought it. Incredible! One of the worst performances of my…