No sooner does Italian-American widow Loretta accept a marriage proposal from her doltish boyfriend, Johnny, then she finds herself falling for his younger brother, Ronny. She tries to resist, but Ronny lost his hand in an accident he blames on his brother, and has no scruples about aggressively pursuing her while Johnny is out of the country. As Loretta falls deeper in love, she comes to learn that she's not the only one in her family with a secret romance. Written by
Superb Craftsmanship in Our Finest Romantic Comedy!
This film stands head and shoulders above the vast majority of cinematic romantic comedies. It is virtually flawless! The writing, acting, production design, humor and pathos are all wonderful! Even the music -- from Dean Martin to La Boheme -- is captivating and delightful!
Every character is peculiarly delightful and memorable, from the leads played by Cher and Nicolas Cage, to the many supporting roles -- Olympia Dukakis , Vincent Gardenia, John Mahoney, Danny Aiello -- even grandpa with his dog pack! Each of these performers, plus Norman Jewison as Director, performs above their normal quality in this ensemble work. For several of the actors, this was an early major exposure in film, so the casting is also exceptional -- and we have many current acting powerhouses whose careers were altered by their effectiveness in this film.
I've seen this film several times all the way through -- which can sometimes deflate the impact of a film substantially. More tellingly, I realized some years ago that whenever I channel-surfed my way into a scene from this film -- any scene -- the scene was compelling and beautifully crafted. There are so many stunning and memorable scenes the original meeting between the Cher and Nicolas Cage characters, where Cage tells his tale of woe; Vincent Gardenia discovered with his paramour at the opera, amidst the splendor generated by his gold-mine plumbing business; Olympia Dukakis scolding John Mahoney for philandering with his student in the classic line about liaisons with co-workers: "Don't sh-t where you eat!"; Danny Aiello at his dying mother's bedside; Nicolas Cage "taking" Cher as the rapture of an aria soars in the background!
There are of course many great romantic comedies, among them Sabrina (both versions, but especially the Audrey Hepburn/Humphrey Bogart/William Holden original); When Harry Met Sally; The Apartment.
None quite equals Moonstruck!
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