Writers: Joe David Brown (novel), Alvin Sargent (screenplay)
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama
Rating: 9.5/10 stars
Synopsis: Taking place during the Great Depression, con artist Moze Pray (Ryan O'Neal) finds himself working with an unlikely and unwanted 9-year-old partner in crime named Addie Loggins (Tatum O'Neal). What unfolds is the story of their adventures (or business deals) as they head to Missouri where Addie is meant to live with her real family.
Paper Moon is one of those movies that simply entertain. If you were to study this movie in a fifth grade English class, filling in that plot graph your teacher always insisted was applicable to every fictional story would have been a piece of cake; and that is in no way a negative thing. That just means the plot was amazingly organized. Not only was the plot easy to follow, but the superb acting was in harmony with the dialogue and action which are all aspects that made the film all the more humorous and engaging.
Firstly, an elaboration on what is meant by 'organized plot' is in order. The viewer, in a way, knew what would come next in a very general sense. The movie starts out with the introduction to the characters and the initial setup of the problem, then the real goal the characters wish to achieve is revealed and Addie and Moze begin their adventure. Then there is the middle portion where all the action happens and things are going well for the characters. Then there is the falling action where things go wrong, and then the conclusion. Because of the way the plot was so well organized, the action did not really keep you on the edge of your seat and the drama did not really give off a feeling of suspense. As mentioned previously, the movie was purely entertaining. It made the audience laugh more than anything else.
Another thing that made this movie worth watching is the relationship between the two main characters, Addie and Moze. Addie plays the smart (and sometimes rude) little girl who knows how to get what she wants, and Moze is the adult (or at least he's supposed to be) that probably should not be her role model, morally speaking.
*Fun fact: The actors who play these roles are father and daughter in real life.
As for the acting, if it had been done any other way, the movie would have been completely different. It was not obnoxiously funny and it was not seriously dramatic. There was a perfect combination of comedy, crime, and drama that made Paper Moon so successfully engaging and it could easily be said that this would not have been the case if the acting were done any differently. On top of all this, some of the (arguably) most important aspects of the film that made it as commendable as it is now are the dialogue, script, and directing. It seemed as if everyone who worked on this film knew exactly what they were going for and got exactly what they wanted out of it.
I recommend this movie to absolutely everyone. I don't expect everyone to love it, but everyone should watch it anyway. It's just one of those movies.