The Man in the Moon (1991)

You may not know this, but back before Reese Witherspoon was an author, the reigning Queen of the Book Club (sorry, Oprah) and head of a production company, she was a major movie star.

She got her start at fifteen playing Dani Trant in the coming of age story The Man in the Moon, a tale of two sisters who live in rural 1950s Louisiana.  Fourteen-year-old Dani and her older sister Maureen are close sisters, the best of friends who sleep out on a screened-in porch during the hot summer. 

They’ve had an idyllic childhood with their strict but loving parents.

Dani meets new neighbor Court, and they strike up a friendship and then something a little more when he kisses her.  Dani is motivated by pure, blind fourteen-year-old girl love, but Court—who knows he is too old for her—is mostly lonely and scared about taking over as the man of the house after the death of his father.

When Court meets Maureen, he forgets all about Dani, and Maureen’s betrayal when she returns Court’s affections hurts Dani and threatens to permanently sever the sister’s bond.

When tragedy strikes, Dani learns an important lesson on the complexity of adult life as she chooses to forgive her sister when they need one another the most.

The film lives or dies on Witherspoon’s portrayal of Dani, and anyone who watched it could’ve predicted her rise.  She radiates star power from the first smile.

It’s a movie I’ve always wanted to live in, especially on hot nights when a screen in porch sure would be nice.

This is part of my Movies I’m Grateful For series, running daily through the month of November. 

Other films include: Splash | New Moon | The Lucky One | Thelma and Louise | Katy Perry:  Part of Me | Crazy Rich Asians | Under the Tuscan Sun | Terminator 2 | Moulin Rouge!How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days | Practical Magic | Schindler’s List | Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol | Stardust |