Watch Paper Moon
- 1 hr 42 min
Paper Moon is a 1973 comedy-drama film directed by Peter Bogdanovich. Set in the Great Depression era, the movie follows a con man named Moses Pray (Ryan O'Neal) who travels through Kansas, selling bibles to widows, then skipping town with their money. Along the way, he meets a tough-talking 9-year-old girl named Addie Loggins (Tatum O'Neal) who claims to be his daughter. Reluctantly, Moses agrees to take Addie with him in his adventures.
The film captures the essence of rural America during the Depression era, brought to life through the black and white cinematography that gives the movie an old-fashioned feeling. The soundtrack, featuring jazz tunes from that era, complements the movie perfectly, setting the mood for the events on the screen, and gives an authentic feel to the overall production.
The main focus of the film is the witty, comical banter between Moses and Addie. Tatum O'Neal, at the time the youngest actress to win an Oscar, steals the show with her remarkable performance, playing with energy and precision the role of a young girl who hustles alongside her more experienced father. Her character is open, brave, intelligent and charming, always one step ahead of her unreliable guardian.
Ryan O'Neal is also remarkable in his role, playing the perfect match to his quick-witted daughter, which quickly became one of the all-time classic movie partnerships. Their chemistry on-screen is unmatched, and the story works solely due to the interactions between the two.
Along the way, Moses and Addie encounter a woman named Trixie Delight (Madeline Kahn), who joins them on their adventures. Trixie becomes a love interest to Moses and adds a unique dimension to the father-daughter duo's dynamic as she seeks to replace Addie with Moses' affection. Madeline Kahn plays the role beautifully, balancing the character's flirtatiousness and self-assuredness as she navigates through their troubled relationship.
As they travel from town to town, conning people and selling bibles, Moses and Addie's relationship deepens despite their supposed familial bond. Moses starts to care for Addie, albeit more subtly than overtly, and she starts to see him as the father figure she never had. However, their newfound bond is tested when they find out they have been involved in a scam to cheat a grieving widow out of her inheritance.
The climax of the film is heart-warming and bittersweet, bringing together the three main characters in a satisfying finale that will leave the audience satisfied. The final scene where Moses and Addie say their goodbyes is particularly touching, and speaks volumes about the connection between the two.
In conclusion, Paper Moon is a classic comedy-drama that features remarkable performances, clever dialogue, and a touching storyline. It's an outstanding representation of the quality of films made during the 1970s when auteurs such as Peter Bogdanovich were at the height of their creativity. The film is an ode to the era and a nostalgic look at a time gone by. Its witty characters and emotional storyline resonate with audiences even today, making it an enjoyable experience for viewers of all ages.
Paper Moon is a 1973 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 42 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 8.1 and a MetaScore of 77.