Movie Review: Moonstruck (1987)

Title: Moonstruck
Release Date: December 18, 1987
Director: Norman Jewison
Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer | Star Partners II Ltd.

A bride without a head!

A wolf without a foot!

I never saw this movie back when it came out and probably wouldn’t have appreciated, so I’m glad I got to watch it with more mature eyes.  The movie is a romantic comedy set among the Italian American community of Brooklyn which feels at first like it’s going to be getting laughs from broad ethnic characteristics but evolves into something deeper and a touch magical. Loretta Castorini (Cher) is a young widow who is very pragmatic and unsentimental and feels her life has been cursed by bad luck.  She accepts the marriage proposal of Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello) whom she likes but doesn’t love out of this sense of pragmatism.  Johnny’s one request for Loretta is that she talk to his estranged brother Ronny (Nicolas Cage) to help them reconcile before the wedding.

Implausibly, but satisfyingly, Loretta and Ronny fall instantly in love and find something they’ve both been missing in their passion for on another.  Around this main story are also the stories of Loretta’s parents.  Her father Cosmo (Vincent Gardenia) is having an affair with a longtime mistress.  Her mother Rose (Olympia Dukakis) suspects her husband’s infidelity and has a (platonic) dinner with serial philanderer Perry (John Mahoney) to question him about why men behave the way they do.  Loretta’s Grandpa (Feodor Chaliapin Jr.), along with his dogs, watches over all of this like a wise Greek chorus.

Despite the average-length runtime of this movie, all of these characters and their subplots are fully realized.  It almost feels like it could be a pilot for an ongoing series about the Catorini and Cammareri families.  But I suppose we will not be getting the Moonstruck Cinematic Universe anytime soon.  I’m glad I finally watched this move which is deservedly considered a classic.

Rating: ****