Moonstruck (1987)

Comedy, Drama, Romance
Cher, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis, Danny Aiello
Loretta Castorini, a book keeper from Brooklyn, New York, finds herself in a difficult situation when she falls for the brother of the man she agreed to marry (the best friend of her late husband who died seven years previously).
Led by energetic performances from Nicolas Cage and Cher, Moonstruck is an exuberantly funny tribute to love and one of the decade's most appealing comedies.
  • MGM Home Entertainment Company:
  • PG Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 18 Dec 1987 Released:
  • 30 Jun 1998 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • John Patrick Shanley Writer:
  • Norman Jewison Director:
  • N/A Website:

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Love this movie. It is on my "at least once a year" list.10/10
This movie is brilliant in every way. It touches on the complexities of loving relationships in a meaningful way, but never lectures. The script never condescends toward any character, not even the hapless Johnny. It also and benefits from spot-on direction, production design, casting, and performances. The fact that Cher is so perfect in the film and is more unlike "Cher" than she has ever been is a wonder to me. I watch Moonstruck at least once a year and I just viewed it again this Christmas eve with my 16 year old twin daughters and they loved it as well. It has something for everyone with a heart and leaves you filled with joy in the end.
"The Moon Brings the Woman to the Man..."10/10
Loretta Castorini (Cher)is a woman in her late thirties, a widow, who lives with her parents in a duplex apartment in Brooklyn. She is engaged to marry Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello), a bland man, more out of a resigned duty than actual love. Before their wedding Johnny takes a trip out to visit his mother who is sick and leaves Loretta the function of playing the olive leaf with his brother Ronny by notifying him of their impending wedding. Ronny (Nicholas Cage) hasn't forgiven Johnny for being the cause of his accident which caused him the loss of his hand (and subsequently, his then-bride-to-be), but he does fall for Loretta, and hard. After a heated affair Loretta out of respect for Johnny tries to avoid Ronny, but his dark looks and overpowering masculinity win her over. Meanwhile, Loretta's mother Rose Castorini (Olympia Dukakis) is not only suspecting her husband Cosmo (Vincent Gardenia) is seeing another woman, but is also herself the subject of admiration from a college professor and wonders why do men chase women. Things get complicated when Johnny returns from Sicily to tell Loretta they can't be married.

The setup is pure sitcom, but the story, written by John Patrick Shanley with a deep understanding for Italian-Americans living in New York, is genuine: he gets the idiosyncrasies of these people and their day-to-day foibles and quirks, and all of the characters have a deep romanticism that comes through in key moments throughout the story. Loretta, a character hardened by the loss of her husband and knowing her chances of happiness are slim, slowly emerges as a woman who is so swept by the sudden recognition of love she becomes the heroine of La Boheme -- the one who acknowledges the love of the man with the wooden hand (in a clever gender reversal), and Cher inhabits the role and makes it hers and in her own style subtly trades her frumpiness to a deep, dark beauty. Ronny is pure fire and Nicholas Cage exudes masculine power as if he were channeling Marlon Brando. The Castorini's and the Cappomaggi's, counterbalancing the central couple, both express their love for each other in two very crucial moments: the latter couple, on the night of the full moon when Loretta and Ronny consummate their affair -- a rare scene depicting love and intimacy among the elderly --, and the former at a tense moment over breakfast when Rose bluntly reveals, in touching words, that she wants Cosmo to stop seeing his mistress Mona (Anita Gillette).

MOONSTRUCK is not only the romantic comedy and date movie of choice, but also a beautiful examination of love and passion among regular people. The ending is a tour de force of emotional impact, the family situation going beyond the momentary complications to cement it in tradition going back to the days of immigrants, and is one that elevates this movie from being just another feel-good movie to a classic. MOONSTRUCK deservedly got its Oscars for Best Writing, Actress, and Supporting Actress, and has proved to grow beyond its time.
So warm10/10

So wonderful, so quirky, so romantic, so Italian. The film is so feather -light you float off into its refracted reality and you never want to return to the humdrum again. A kitchen sink world of bakeries, and hairdressers, and plumbing, but one that shimmers with a soft luminescence. Should the credit go to the screenplay or the direction? Take your pick -- they're both faultless. Let me get back to that New York City that lies just beyond the looking glass.
Beautiful, romantic8/10

Wonderful romance comedy drama about an Italian widow (Cher) who's planning to marry a man she's comfortable with (Danny Aiello) until she falls for his headstrong, angry brother (Nicholas Cage). The script is sharp with plenty of great lines, the acting is wonderful, the accents (I've been told) are letter perfect and the cinematography is beautiful. New York has never looked so good on the screen. A must-see primarily for Cher and Olympia Dukakis--they're both fantastic and richly deserved the Oscars they got. A beautiful, funny film. A must see!
La Bella Luna!5/10

People call this Cher's movie, but Olympia Dukakis makes it for me. It's under her roof that I heard some of my favorite dialogue in the movies.

I am not a violent person, but "Old man . . . you give those dogs another piece of my meat and I'll kick ya til ya dead!" has got to be on my top ten list of memorable quotes.

I like the conversations around this family's kitchen table maybe because growing up, meals in my house were pretty silent even though there were seven of us. Funny that it took an Irish screenwriter to capture the Italian cadences. These people aren't caricatures of Italians or any other ethnicity, they are just a vocal family.

In another time, with just a few changes in the script, this story could have been high operatic drama. But it's not. It's a romantic comedy not a
tragedy - even though it contains elements of tragedy - death under a bus, a
lost limb, betrayal of marriage vows, and misinterpretations and misunderstandings.

But these characters TALK about what's on their minds. You want to know where the Met is located? You ask your hairdresser. You think your husband is flirting with another woman? You tell him that while you're both working behind the wine counter - in front of a customer. You're mad at your brother, you want to know why men need more than one woman, you want your son to pay for the wedding of his only daughter? If you really want to know, if you really want results or answers, you speak up!

Besides movies based on Agatha Christie novels, it is rare that a story ends with bringing the entire cast together more satisfyingly than "Moonstruck." The morning-after-the-opera scene in Rose Castorini's sunny kitchen with all the characters present is one that I can watch again and again. "You've got a love-bite on yer neck - your life's goin down the toilet!" "I want you to stop seeing her" "Who are we waiting for?" "Johnny Cammarari" "You're a
part of the family!"

No matter what sort of table you grew up around, rent or buy this movie.

And remember, "No matter what you're gonna do you gonna die, just like everybody else!"