Review by Brian Koller|
3½ stars out of 4
"Paper Moon" is an outstanding comedy and drama.
Set in the midwest during the Great Depression,
the era comes to life with black and white
cinematography, automobiles, radio shows and
Addie (Tatum O'Neal) is a ten-year old who is
orphaned when her mother dies in a car crash.
Small-time con artist and probable father Moses Pray
(Ryan O'Neal, Tatum's real-life father) agrees
to take Addie to her only known relatives
in another state. Addie turns out to be an even
better con artist than Moses, and the two become
partners. Later, Moses falls for 'dancer' Trixie
Delight (Madeline Kahn), and gets into trouble with
corrupt sheriff John Hillerman.
The acting of Ryan O'Neal has been criticized throughout
his career, but he is perfect in "Paper Moon". When
Addie makes him angry, he fumes silently, just what
you would expect from an exasperated father. His
understated happiness and despair during good and bad
times is also appropriate to his character.
"Paper Moon" continued the success of director
Peter Bogdanovich, whose recent films were
"What's Up Doc" and "The Last Picture Show".
His career would then take a nosedive, and he would
not have another hit until "Mask" in 1985.
Tatum O'Neal gives an excellent performance. Unlike
other child actors, she is never precocious, except
when it is appropriate, such as when perpetrating a con.
Her character is sharp well beyond her age, and if
it was not cast correctly, it would not be credible.
O'Neal makes the role believable.
Madeline Kahn and Tatum O'Neal were both nominated
for Best Supporting Actress. O'Neal won, becoming
the youngest person to win a major Academy Award.
Kahn was on a roll in the early-mid 1970s, with
successful roles in the films "What's Up Doc",
"Paper Moon", "Blazing Saddles" and "Young Frankenstein",
all of which were nominated for Academy or Golden Globe
Best Supporting Actress awards.
Copyright © 1999 Brian Koller