Now that Nightmare is over and done with, I’m finally free to start with Nostalgiathon 2012! And my very first entry is the 1991 film, Man in the Moon. Starring Reese Witherspoon in her very first time onscreen and featuring Sam Waterson in his last theatrical film before he started with Law & Order, this is a film I had completely and utterly forgotten about until I browsed HBO Go a couple of nights ago and found it and was flooded with hazy memories of having loved it when I was eleven. What better way to start of Nostalgiathon right?
Directed by Robert Mulligan and also starring Jason London (do y’all remember those London twins??), Man in the Moon is set in the summer of 1957 and focuses on the Tant sisters, Dani (Witherspoon) and Maureen (Emily Warfield). Dani is fourteen and a firecracker who still likes to run off down the pond to go skinny dipping while Maureen is seventeen and dreaming about what the future holds for her.
One day whilst skinny dipping, Dani meets Court (London) a new neighbor whose family has actually been friends with her parents since high school (prior to moving away and then moving back). It isn’t instantaneous, but pretty darn close, before Dani is head over heels for Court. They become great friends and Court even gives Dani her first kiss. This is all before Court finally meets Maureen and, for them, love is instantaneous which leads to hurt feelings all over the place and confusion on Dani’s part. When tragedy strikes will Dani find it in her heart to forgive her older sister or will their relationship be lost forever?
I don’t know why I loved this as a child – I don’t remember a lot from childhood – but I’m going to say it was probably the melodrama because I was quite the melodramatic child (and may or may not tends toward melodrama now… ;)). I’m sure it struck some chords with me for a variety of reasons – the Tants reminding me a bit of my own family, not knowing who I was at eleven or who I would be but dreaming of leaving the small town I was stuck in for bigger and better things, plus first love – I imagine all little girls dream of that at some point. So how did it fare watching it as an adult?
Frankly, I really enjoyed it. Sure there were scenes that were totally contrived and the melodrama was over the top at points but I still enjoyed the story and I still got a tear in my eye at a few points. This won’t be a movie that I’ll go out and buy and watch again and again but I imagine in another ten years, I’ll likely get a hankering for it.
One last note – if you’re only familiar with Reese Witherspoon from her days in romantic comedies, I highly suggest you go back and check out her earlier work.