While some stories share views of their characters over time, others tell their stories by giving the audience quick but intense snapshots, restricting the action to a very small amount of time. Yesterday, this column reviewed “Rachel Getting Married,” a serious film in which a bride’s family is preparing for a big wedding. For a more comedic film about characters planning a wedding, there is “Moonstruck,” which was released in 1987, focuses on a short period of time that is highlighted by one memorable night when the moon is full.
In “Moonstruck,” Cher plays Loretta, a middle-aged Italian woman who works as a bookkeeper in Brooklyn Heights. When Loretta was younger, she became widowed but she has recently ended her mourning by becoming engaged to momma’s boy Johnny (played by Danny Aiello). She likes him, but does not really love him. Her mom, Rose (played by Olympia Dukakis), tells her this is a good thing since if she really loves him, he will drive her nuts. Johnny has to go to Italy when he learns his mother is very sick. He asks Loretta to invite his estranged brother, Ronny (played by Nicolas Cage), to the wedding. When she meets him, she finds that Ronny is bitter towards his brother as he blames him for an accident that happened years earlier. Much to her dismay, Loretta is much more attracted to the opera-loving Ronny than his brother. Meanwhile, her other family members deal with their own romantic troubles, all culminating on a night with a full moon.
“Moonstruck” has a fabulous screenplay. It has fun characters and a lot of amusing dialogue. The script won an Academy Award.
From most of the minor characters in the liquor store where the family buys its booze to the leads, the cast is astounding. Cher is quite strong as Loretta, who is torn between two very different brothers. Her work also won an Oscar. Nicolas Cage is equally good as Ronny. He brings a lot of energy and heart to the role.
“Moonstruck” is a solid choice for fans of comedies.