Moonstruck (1987) is as satisfying as a big pizza pie; a charming ode to typical Italian American family values and eccentricities steeped in nostalgic longing for romance set during a magical full moon in Brooklyn’s Little Italy, New York.

When a new production arrives at The Metropolitan Opera, it brings a magical air of romance to an Italian neighborhood that will change the destiny of a lonely widow and her traditional Italian family.

The film sets a warm inviting tone from the opening credits with bustling early morning New York traffic scenes as the Opera production trucks pass by working class Italian businesses opening their stores and set to Dean Martin’s iconic love song ‘That’s Amore’.

A young widow, Loretta Castorini (Cher), with few marriage prospects after her fiancé was killed in a car accident and living at home with her parents while working as a book keeper, decides after seven years to accept a marriage proposal from her late fiancé’s best friend Johnny Cammareri, a person she likes but does not love. 

Cher is absolutely wonderful in her Oscar winning role as the practical widow resigned to her fate, who finds love unexpectedly at the most inopportune time. This heartwarming comedy is one of my all-time favorites and never ceases to be thoroughly enjoyable. 

Much like Woody Allen’s Manhattan (1979), Moontruck shows us an intimate view of a family and the many romantic relationships that co-exist between people from all walks of life in the city that never sleeps. All the characters have their own musical theme and the full moon plays a big part in the magical atmosphere of the film.

Loretta begins to plan her wedding while her new fiancé leaves for Italy to visit his dying mother. He makes only one request of Loretta while he is away; to invite his estranged younger brother Ronny (Nicolas Cage) to the wedding because he wants to mend the long standing rift in their relationship. 

The story by New York playwright John Patrick Shanley, was inspired by some of his own experiences with Italian families while growing up in New York.

Loretta is in for a surprise when she eventually goes to meet with her fiancé’s brother and discovers a bitter person still holding a very big grudge towards his older sibling.  While trying to resolve his personal issues, they discover that they both have strong pent up feelings of resentment stemming from the tragic events of their past.

Canadian director extraordinaire Norman Jewison, who was recently awarded the Technicolor Clyde Gilmour award from Toronto Film Critics Association, is not afraid to allow the characters their time and space to develop and he finds great chemistry that pays off during the hilarious climax of the film. 

While exposing their unresolved emotions, Loretta and Ronny discover that they have much in common and sparks start to fly when they both come to the realization that they’ve started the healing process while in each other's company.

As we follow the personal stories of several family members throughout the film, they eventually intersect and come together in a touching climax you won’t soon forget at the kitchen breakfast table.  Don’t miss this delightful romantic comedy and homage to love and family.



jacquie said...

Best movie ever! It's been a while since I thought about it :)

koktebele said...
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Oksana Frewer said...

Never seen this film before, but would love to see it now! Thanks for the review!

Kathy Crowley-Gardner said...

It is also one of my favorites. "Snap out of it!!!", Loretta yells at Ronny as she slaps his face. Best line ever. I use it (sans the slap). As usual, John, great review. Your words are strung like pearls on a beautiful necklace. Keep stringing. I love reading your writing. Thanks.

Valerie Remy-Milora said...

I've never seen the movie but have always wanted too..Now it seems I must! Thanks for sharing!