Moonstruck (1987)

Director: Norman Jewison
Writer: John Patrick Shanley
Cast: Cher, Nicolas Cage, Vincent Gardenia, Olympia Dukakis, Danny Aiello, Julie Bovasso, John Mahoney, Louis Guss
Seen on: 30.12.2017

Loretta (Cher) is a bookkeeper who lives with her parents (Vincent Gardenia, Olympia Dukakis). Her boyfriend Johnny (Danny Aiello) is slightly boring, but definitely dependable. And he just proposed to Loretta. Loretta agrees to marry him but insists on following the old traditions because she is sure that her first husband died because they didn’t stick to traditions. Johnny agrees, but has to leave to go to Sicily to tend to his dying mother. In the meantime, he asks Loretta to see his brother Ronnie (Nicolas Cage) and invite him to the wedding. Loretta does so and finds a passionate, hot-headed man who turns all her plans upside down.

I can imagine that Moonstruck came across as charming when it came out, but I don’t think it aged very well. I didn’t get into it in any case.

I do like Cher (Mermaids is an absolute nostlagia favorite of mine) and I did enjoy her in this film as well. Her Loretta is an interesting mix of character traits that we don’t see in one person very often: she’s supersititious and traditional, but she also goes her own way and makes her own choices. In short, she’s interesting, though I’m not entirely sure I would like her if I met her.

The entire film is rather loud and high-strung with a lot of energy. But it’s Nicolas Cage who really pushes the boundaries of how high a film can be strung before it breaks. For me, he broke the film a couple of times with his performance. His Ronnie is not so much passionate as he is pathological and I really thought that maybe he should see a therapist. Not necessarily the ideal portrayal of a guy you want to fall in love with (mental health issues are not per se a reason not to fall in love with someone, of course. Untreated issues that include fits of rage are a warning sign).

But it wasn’t just Cage who makes the film a little hard to stand for me – there was a little too much loud talking all at the same time for my taste. For a while this can be quite fun, but I felt like the film overdid it a little, even if it’s part of what makes the energy of the film so infectious.

Put altogether, Moonstruck is a film that remains a little alien to me. But that may just be because I myself am not very prone to passion when it comes to love.

Summarizing: Not for me.

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