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Man in the Moon Rating:

Oscar nominees Sam Waterston and Tess Harper and veteran actress Gail Strickland (Norma Rae) join three talented newcomers in this deeply moving film (Los Angeles Times) about coming of age and sexual discovery in rural, 1950s Louisiana. Brilliantly directed by Robert Mulligan (To Kill a Mockingbird, The Summer of 42), The Man in the Moon is a poignant and bittersweet tale Roger Ebert calls "a wonderful movie...a victory...a meticulously prepared masterpiece."

Fourteen-year-old Dani (Reese Witherspoon) and her older sister Maureen (Emily Warfield) have always shared everything. But when Court Foster (Jason London) moves in next door, the sisters become rivals as Dani experiences her first feelings of affection and Maureen finds the true love she's longed for. But with love comes heartache, and the sisters soon learn a tough life lesson when tragedy strikes and the strength of their bond is the only thing that will keep their hearts from breaking.

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A jewel of a sleeper, The Man in the Moon comes off as a nearly perfect short story of two sisters' first competition in the field of love. In a 1950's small Louisiana farm town, 14-year-old Dani falls for Court, a 17-year-old engaging neighbor boy. The two become great friends, but Court is more interested in Dani's 17-year-old sister, Maureen, who is blossoming. Dani will look for any justification why she should be with Court, but as human law dictates, there is no cure for a 14-year-old with a crush.

The film is another winning portrayal of small-town adolescence from Robert Mulligan (To Kill A Mockingbird). His eye for casting is impeccable, with Sam Waterston and Tess Harper as the earnest parents and newcomer Jason London as the dreamy Court. The real find, though, is Reese Witherspoon as Dani. Her timeless work here is magical.

The PG-13 rating is a bit heavy-handed--although the film does not shy away from its look at budding sensuality, or a horrific and emotional accident. Mature 10-year-olds may find one of their favorite films here. -- Doug Thomas

Product Details

Media Type Movie
Recommended Age 12 and up
Actors Sam Waterston, Tess Harper, Gail Strickland, Reese Witherspoon, Jason London
Director Robert Mulligan
Running Time 99 minutes
Studio MGM
Release Date Jan 9, 2001
Language English