In my eyes, Rachel Weisz can do no wrong. After starring in TV dramas, theatre productions, and small-scale features for most of the 1990s, Weisz burst into the 2000s with three killer roles: Evelyn in The Mummy franchise, Rachel in About A Boy, and most notably, Tessa in The Constant Gardener, for which she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Since then, her talents have seen her work with the best directors in the industry, including Darren Aronofsky, Sam Raimi, Wong Kar-Wai, Yorgos Lanthimos, Peter Jackson, and Paolo Sorrentino.
Her taste in films is just as impressive. Speaking to Rotten Tomatoes back in 2017, shortly before the release of the Daphne De Maurier adaptation My Cousin Rachel, Weisz opened up about some of her favourites films, naming the likes of What’s Up Doc? (1972), Being There (1979), and Nights Of Cabiria (1957). She also named Hal Ashby’s immortal dark comedy Harold and Maude, which she described as “definitely one of the most unusual love stories that I’ve seen.
“Maude is one of the most inspiring characters,” Weisz continued. “She reminds me to see the world positively and forgivingly and put past troubles behind me. The Cat Stevens soundtrack is sublime. The comedy is delicious. The performance of Ruth Gordon – you know, she’s a woman in her 80s acting like a 16-year-old – is one of the most extraordinary performances I’ve ever seen.”
However, there is another film that Weisz described as more delicious still: the 1973 film Paper Moon, starring Real-life father and daughter Ryan and Tatum O’Neal. “It’s really hard for me not to put Paper Moon on there,” Weisz said of her selection, “which is also Bogdanovich and Ryan O’Neal, and Tatum O’Neal, his daughter. It’s one of the great stories about criminals who you love. Tonally, it’s just outrageously delicious and sublime.”
Set during the Great Depression of the 1930s, Paper Moon tells the story of Moses Pray, who is unexpectedly made responsible for the 9-year-old Addie (Tatum O’Neil) after his attempts to con her mother out of her money backfire. Forced to take Addie on as a partner, the pair make their way through the deprived midwest, swindling anyone they can find. At its heart, Paper Moon is a film about a young girl living in an adult’s world. However, it quickly reveals itself to be an exploration of the complex relationship between father and daughter, something Weisz herself explored in Paolo Sorrentino’s 2016 film Youth.