in 1988, moonstruck was released in theaters and was instantly loved by both fans of Cher and Nicolas Cage; the two coming together to deliver wonderful performances about magic and romance. It was an unexpected duo for some, not expecting the two to come together, but the instant chemistry with them on screen sold the idea, and the film became an instant classic. Revolving around a classic love triangle, Cher plays Loretta Castorini, an Italian widow who still lives with her parents, and dates Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello). She tells her mother (Olympia Dukakis) that she doesn’t love him, even after he proposes, and she agrees to marry him. Cage plays Ronny Cammareri, the brother of Johnny, and a baker who lost his hand while making bread, and is the true love of Loretta’s life. Filled with Italian traditions and superstitions, BlogPost states that it’s one of the most Italian movies ever made, and for good reason.
moonstruck is truly something special because of the direction the plot takes, and how much care is put into a movie like this. Essentially, Loretta and Johnny are to be married but when his mother is on her deathbed, he flees to Italy to be there for her, and asks Loretta if she can find his estranged brother Ronny, and invite him to the wedding. When Loretta finds Ronny at the bakery, the two instantly mesh and have one of the most iconic first interactions in film history. The movie takes place just over the course of three days and so much happens in such little time, inviting the viewer to get comfortable and familiar with the characters. This film is nostalgic and warm, bouncing from scene to scene with such agility, that the audience doesn’t have a chance to get bored, whether it’s a simple scene of Loretta speaking with her aunt at the shop about the deposit, or a mesmerizing scene such as Loretta and Johnny attending the opera together. There are several elements that make this movie so good, and this article will showcase them.
Nicolas Cage’s Big, Watery Eyes
From the moment the audience is introduced to Ronny, it’s very obvious that he is a damaged and emotional individual. He lays eyes on Loretta for the first time and decides to deliver a monologue about how he lost his left hand; the tragedy taking place while he was making bread for his brother, Johnny. So, it’s his fault he doesn’t have the appendage anymore, thus leading to the silence that has lasted them five years. He’s passionate and angry, as he shouts about how it’s unfair that Johnny gets a bride and his left hand, while Ronny has neither. Cage guides that scene with such precision and care, it’s hard to look away as he delivers such a powerful monologue about his life to the woman he would quickly fall in love with.
Throughout several moments in the movie, Cage acts with his eyes. While his character is somewhat brooding and aloof, his eyes give him away completely, whether he’s peering up at Loretta at the opera, watching her every move through his big glassy eyes, or he’s standing in the middle of the street, as it snows down on them. In an interview with VNexplorer, Cage states that the only thing he truly remembers about the movie was freezing in Brooklyn during that scene, where he gives yet another speech about how they were put on Earth to ruin themselves. There might be moments in the movie where viewers think his eyes are comically big due to the angle of the camera, but it gives so much more to the movie, once you notice Cage holds all his emotions in them.
The Magic of Cosmo’s Moon
Coming from a traditional Italian family, the talk of superstition is a constant component throughout this film, and is something that Loretta is very serious about. She blames her first marriage failing, along with the death of her husband on a myriad of things, such as how he didn’t get on his knee when asking her to marry him, so it only makes sense that a full moon would bring such luck and prosperity to the couple. Loretta’s uncle Raymond (Louis Guss) claims that it’s his brother Cosmo’s doing; that he summoned a huge full moon the day he fell in love with his wife, and so it was inheritably a thing of luck and a gift of sorts.
So, that being said, Loretta and Ronny get together the night of the huge full moon, meaning that the magic of the moon was a sign from beyond, and it meant that they were to be together. And it’s obvious in how quickly the two fall in love, throwing all caution to the wind as they push the thought of Johnny far from their minds, and grow closer together in such a short amount of time. Cosmo’s moon brought them together, and they honor that as the movie goes on, falling deep with each other.
The Nostalgia and Comfort
since moonstruck rides heavily on family and love, it invites audiences to get comfortable, familiar, and warm as the film goes on, and as the amount of times one watches it increases. It’s a warm movie that seats the viewer right along with everything going on, displaying Cosmo’s infidelity against Rose, and how she takes it as a traditional Italian wife, politely asking him not to see her anymore, to which he simply agrees. It’s funny and almost off-putting with how Johnny takes the news that his brother Ronny is going to be marrying Loretta; instead, even giving up his ring, so Ronny can place it on her finger to avoid any superstitions.
moonstruck is the perfect ’80s romance, dabbling in a bit of controversy, perfect amount of heartfelt moments mixed with laughs, and a tearful ending that leaves the audience satisfied and mystified at the same time.