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: ****

7 thoughts on “Movie Review: Moonstruck (1987)

  1. Moonstruck was the first time I ever saw Nicolas Cage in a movie. I remember feeling both repelled and attracted to him. The small ensemble is first class. Moonstruck is one I own. Good write-up on a classic, Liam.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Liam, would you be interested in being part of a TV series draft? I think you’ve seen my posts for it (the last one was My Name is Earl.) One of the participants had to drop out and we need someone to fill in for the last 4 rounds (the next one is coming up on 5/21.) If that’s not enough time, I could write one up for that which means you’d only be writing up 3 series and the first one would be due at least a few days before 5/31. If you’re interested in doing this, please email me at Will you put TV Draft in the subject line if you do email me?


      1. There are a group of us and we rotate writing up our favorite tv series. For this series (there will only 3 you’d have to write up over about a month’s time) it is TV shows. We’ll probably do more series (up to Max at Power Pop Blog) in the future. We’ve done favorite songs, favorite albums, and favorite movies so far (iirc.) Hoping that makes it more clear.


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