The tone of the movie had set it off from many of the movies created at the time. A romantic comedy, but with a bitterness attached to it that many people can relate to.

Cher plays an Italian American widow in her 30s who does not believe she is capable of love any longer. She obliges to marry the man she is seeing, not out of love, but out of fatigue. She figured it would make him happy. Her fiance then travels to Italy to be at the bedside of his dying mother, and during this time, Cher meets his younger brother, played by Nicolas Cage. Things change for her. Things change for other people in her family. The moon is involved.

One of the most memorable moments is when Cage says the following:

"I love you. Not like they told you love is and I didn't know this either, but love don't make things nice- it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren't here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and to love the wrong people and die. The storybooks are bullshit."

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie
That's amoré
When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine
That's amoré...

Set in Brooklyn, New York1, this charming little romantic comedy directed by Norman Jewison concerns love, family, and the full moon. Cher won an Academy Award for her role here (unlikely as that might sound at first), and she was assisted in this by John Patrick Shanley's screenplay; he got another golden boy for his efforts.

Loretta Castorini (Cher) is a widow whose first marriage was plagued by bad luck: her husband was killed by a bus after only a few years of wedded bliss. On the night of a full moon she agrees to marry her timorous suitor, Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello), not because she loves him, but because he's a nice guy and she's tired of being alone. But first he flies off to see his dying mother in Sicily, after making her promise to call his brother, from whom he has been estranged, to patch things up and invite him to the wedding. The brother turns out to be Ronny (Nicolas Cage), a tortured baker with a wooden hand and a love of opera. Ronny is everything Johnny is not: emotional, passionate, strong-willed, decisive. A man to fall in love with, for sure.

Part of what made this movie successful are the multiple plots that weave through it. One concerns Loretta's parents: her father has a girlfriend, and his wife (played with aplomb by Olympia Dukakis, the third recipient of an Oscar in this movie) dithers about what to do; eventually she puts her foot down and demands that her husband stop seeing "that woman"; with a shrug, he agrees. Then there's the grandfather, given to oracular insights (as Italian grandparents often are in Hollywood imagination); he takes his five dogs out for walks on the Brooklyn Bridge at night and encourages them to howl at the moon. And there's Loretta's aging aunt and uncle, inspired by the moon to indulge in a night of hot sex.

It's a lightweight movie, sure, but it has an edge that makes it more than fluff, and the acting is surprisingly good. Recommended.

1A now-deleted writeup says that the movie was "set on Henry Street in Carroll Gardens in the now vanished Cammareri Brothers Bakery." And that noder, who lives in the neighbourhood, ought to know.

Moon"struck` (?), a.

1.

Mentally affected or deranged by the supposed influence of the moon; lunatic.

2.

Produced by the supposed influence of the moon.

"Moonstruck madness."

Milton.

3.

Made sick by the supposed influence of the moon, as a human being; made unsuitable for food, as fishes, by such supposed influence.

 

© Webster 1913.

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