Paper Moon, directed by Joe Bogdanovich and adapted from the novel Addie Pray by Joe Brown, is one of my favorite movies. It manages to be funny and serious at the same time. Iíve seen it four times and I donít think Iíll ever get bored with it. The humor and acting is timeless.
Addie Loggins (Tatum OíNeal) loses her mother during the Great Depression. When Moses Pray (Ryan OíNeal), an old friend of her motherís, arrives in town for the funeral he reluctantly receives the task of making sure Addie gets to her auntís house in Missouri. Addie tags along with Moses while he swindles widows and others out of their money and shows him that she can be just as deceptive as he can. Along the way Moses picks up a lady friend named Trixie Delight (Madeline Kahn) and her maid Imogene (P.J. Johnson).
Tatum is absolutely marvelous as Addie. This is the best performance Iíve seen from a child actor. She is funny, intelligent and headstrong. She refuses to leave Mosesí side until she gets her two hundred dollars back from him. I still canít believe that Tatum was only ten when she took on the role. Her facial expressions through out the movie are hilarious. Itís remarkable how well she acted at such a young age. She certainly gives her more experienced father a run for his money. Her performance is by far the best in the entire film.
Kahn and Ryan also give stellar performances. Kahn is spectacular as an exotic dancer who tries to appear as innocent as possible. Her best scene takes place on the hill when Addie refuses to get back in the car. She is funny and heartbreaking. Itís no wonder sheís one of the funniest comedic actresses of all time (in my opinion). Ryan shows the audience that Moses may be a con man but he still cares about Addie, a girl he hardly knows. He brings out the human side of his character.
The cinematography is great. The decision to make the film black and white really allows me to suspend belief. I can truly imagine that the movie was shot in the 1930s. The scenic shots of the countryside are also beautiful.
There are many scenes in the movie that audiences wonít forget. The money exchanging scene done by Moses and the hill scene with Madeline Kahn and Tatum OíNeal are two that come to mind. There are also plenty of one liners that are hilarious; every character has terrific lines.
Paper Moon is a film that, once you watch, you wonít forget. Itís a film that you can watch over and over and always find something new to laugh at. I highly recommend this movie.