The Man in the Moon

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
The Man in the Moon Movie Poster Image
Reese Witherspoon shines in coming-of-age tale.
  • PG-13
  • 1991
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Adolescent behavior portrayed realistically and sensitively. Consequences of misbehavior are clear and consistent. 1950s parenting is shown to be strict, loving, and, in one instance, bordering on extreme, but true to the time and place. Human struggle between heart and mind, at any age, is examined truthfully. Role models exhibiting good values and admirable behavior are subtly drawn, but their impact is clear and heartfelt.


Horrific accident on farm involving a thresher is seen from various angles, none overly close-up, graphic, or exploitative. Teen girl is hit with belt by father.


Teen girl in bra and panties in several scenes. Young female teen shown jumping into a pond naked; it's a rear view, from a discreet distance. Naked boy swimming in pond. Older teens shown in gentle embrace, then necking passionately. Same couple is seen in soft-hued distance naked after sex.


Mild swearing on a very few occasions: "you ass," "goddamn," "get your cherry," "boobs."



Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while this movie will appeal to teens, particularly because of the popularity of its star Reese Witherspoon, it deals realistically and seriously with issues such as: trust, family bonds, adolescent sexuality, and loyalty, as well as the fragility and unpredictability of life. References and scenes that depict kissing, lovemaking, and partial nudity are designed to treat the characters, as well as the audience, with respect and dignity; nothing feels gratuitous for teens and up. There is a particularly shocking farm accident that has dire results.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bydvdgirl January 29, 2018

good but sad.

its a lovely film although you might cry. but lovely movie.
Parent Written byGigi R March 17, 2017
Teen, 15 years old Written byFishynmn May 28, 2014

Cute coming-of-age tale is well-made and emotional.

The Man in the Moon is an entertaining movie about a 14-year-old girl who finds her first true love. The quality of The Man In the Moon is very well-made. It in... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bypaltra April 4, 2009
This movie is very good but also very sad. There is a horrific scene with a tractors blades and might be upsetting for some.

What's the story?

Dani Trant, at 14, is midway between being a child and being a grownup. Her family is close, loving, expanding (a fourth baby is due to arrive soon), and just making ends meet in the 1950s on a farm in rural Louisiana. When Court Foster (Jason London) returns with his recently widowed mom to the place next door, Dani falls head-over-heels in love for the first time. But after Court meets her older sister, Maureen (Emily Warfield), Dani's feelings about her sister, Court, and about herself, are painfully threatened. Succeeding events and one tragedy, profoundly test both Dani and her family.

Is it any good?

Reese Witherspoon's debut performance in THE MAN IN THE MOON is an astonishing example of the right role in the right movie for the right young actress. This coming-of-age story, told with simplicity, gentleness, and a very basic faith in the power of human goodness and truth, succeeds on every level. Set in 1950, released in 1991, its message is timeless, its characters rich and nuanced. It's a familiar story made fresh and original by talented, dedicated filmmakers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how times have changed since the 1950s when this movie is set. What was important to teens then that is still important today? How does each main character show both positive and negative behavior, and how do these characters struggle between having what they want and doing the right thing? Did your feelings about Maureen change during this movie?

Movie details

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