Moonstruck (1987) (PG)

The movie when Cher reached the peak of her cinematic fame, "Moonstruck" remains a bitterly perceptive and altogether enjoyable film that influences the romantic comedy genre more than what would be expected.
Set in New York focusing on an Italian family with much more cheeriness than Scorsese ever managed, "Moonstruck" exemplifies an effortless watchability as it delves into many lives. Loretta Castrioni (Cher) is a peppy, sassy secretary for a funeral home. She's content with her life, considering that she thinks she's unlucky in love, in situation, and in life. She's convinced that because she didn't have a traditional wedding—she got married at the court house—she has been cursed ever since; but she doesn't have the good graces to admit to herself that she thinks she's cursed. Her husband died seven years ago after being hit by a bus.
Now Loretta is dating an older gentleman named Johnny (Danny Aiello) who proposes to her at the movie's opening. She scolds him for not proposing in the right way, making him get down on his knee and give her a ring. She is of the opinion that doing it all over in the right, traditional way will bring her good luck to weigh out all the bad.
But she doesn't have much time to celebrate with Johnny before he gets on a plane and heads out to Sicily to be with his dying mother. Before he gets on the plane he gives Loretta a phone number to call. When the phone is answered she is to ask for Ronny—Johnny's estranged brother with five years of bad blood between them.
She agrees and figures that she can coax him into coming to their wedding, but soon forgets about it when Johnny leaves the country,
The situation of the home-front is a little awkward. Loretta's mother and father don't seem to be getting along that fantastically. Her father rejects the idea of Johnny as a son-in-law and balks at the proposition of paying for a wedding...but he must if Loretta is to do everything right this time.
Romantic comedies prey on the idea of disorder because that's where the intimate moments and the romantics spring up in. It's not necessarily true, but it's nice to think so.
As such, there is a lot of imperfection to "Moonstruck", not just in how the characters interact but how the film is actually produced. It's small peas compared to the general pleasure that is viewing the film.
A strew of hilarious and interesting characters each get captivated by the romantic moon that appears over New York at night. It's a romantic setting for a love story, but one that strays far from the fairy tale lore.
Once Loretta gets in contact with Johnny's brother, Ronny (Nicolas Cage), she finds him immediately and assuredly hard-headed. Five years ago, he accidentally lost his hand in a baking accident that was not Johnny's fault, but the two haven't spoken since.
Loretta, and the viewer, both think this is ridiculous and she says as much to him...or she tries to but she's just not as articulate as she would like to be so a long speech about him being a wolf who gnawed off his own paw ensues.
What "Moonstruck" is doing is giving us caricatures that mimic life. It's giving us bite sized pieces of humorous takes on our own life. It's a delightfully enchanting movie, one that hardly has aged at all, though its stars certainly have.
The kind of film that would help movies like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" be made, "Moonstruck is just so darn charming.

Score: ★★★½

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