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Moonstruck (1987)

by on 2014/01/23

Moonstruck (1987)

“Tell the truth. They’ll find out anyway.”

* * * *

My Mom loved this movie, and I do love my Mom, so it’s kind of surprising it took me so long to get around to seeing Moonstruck. I guess in 1987, when it first appeared, I really wasn’t interested in much that wasn’t The Living Daylights.

In fact, I’ve never really had a “romcom” phase, but it was directed by Norman Jewison, whose work I’m exploring this month, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Watching it was one of those rare experiences where I’m able to just relax, forget note taking, and enjoy the goings-on.

And, boy, are there goings-on aplenty here.

A borderline stereotypical family of Italians in New York, as well as their friends and lovers and other strangers, including half a dozen dogs, live life and love, bake bread and go to the opera.

I dislike most opera. I didn’t, however, dislike Moonstruck at all.

From familiar Houston Street (though much was filmed in Toronto) to the Dick Hyman soundtrack, all the sights and sounds conspired to immerse me in the warmth and excitement of another life. (To be fair, my own is clinical and staid.)

Or “lives” perhaps I should say. Though Cher plays the most prominent role, the others more than hold their own: John Mahoney in a near-cameo almost unbalances the film with his charm, Olympia Dukakis remains as spectacular as ever, and Nic Cage does career-best-level work.

Like the mutant offspring of Touch of Pink and The Event but predating both by over fifteen years, it’s easy to see the influence of Moonstruck on the paler romantic comedies which followed. Without a hint of irony, I can confidently state that this one has more grit and a soul, or at least spirit. It hardly seems to have dated nearly thirty years on.

Except, of course, for Cher’s way-Eighties makeover montage.

* * * *

Rated PG

102 minutes

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