Snowflakes in the Night: 'Moonstruck' Review
Being the poster boy for chewing scenery, living in the never-dying holy grail of memes, and being the face of over-dramatic, over-energetic acting, Nicholas Cage just can’t catch a break. But let’s be honest, does he want to? It seems like many exceptional actors of yesterday just want to do whatever they want, take all the crappy roles they can get and cash in a fat paycheck at the end of the day (looking at you DeNiro). But, we should never forget what they did for cinema at the excellent acting chops they brought to the table in their prime. And in Cage’s case, one of them is Moonstruck.
Centering around the recently engaged (and previously widowed) Loretta (Cher), the film follows her search for her fiancé’s estranged brother Ronny (Nicholas Cage). While her fiance attends to his dying mother in Italy, Loretta eventually finds Ronny working as a baker with only one hand. Learning that Ronny blames his brother for the accident that left him physically challenged, Loretta defends her fiancé. But, Ronny doesn’t care, he doesn’t want to be a monument to justice or circumstance; he just wants both hands. Being a passionate and wild young man while his brother is a momma’s boy, it doesn’t take much for Ronny to get into Loretta’s bed out of spite. Eventually, however, feelings develop and much to Loretta’s dismay, she starts to fall for Ronny over her fiancé.
Cher, who I didn’t take for much of an actress, is surprisingly very capable in her role. She’s funny and witty but plays the “love caught in a love triangle” exceptionally charming all the same. What’s most surprising of her portrayal is her incredibly convincing Italian accent. Then again, the film swept winning 3 Academy Awards, one of them for Best Actress in a Leading Role so this shouldn’t be much of a surprise. 18 years her junior, Cage is no slouch either; he’s angry, lovable and passionately in love/insane all at once. His love for Loretta starts out as mere lust disguising his spiteful hatred of his brother but eventually blossoms into a natural, believable relationship. Loretta’s first marriage was out of love, to a man who finally got hit by a bus, after that she decided she didn’t want love, she wanted something practical. Her falling for Cage over her very practical, traditional fiancé, was an admission that sometimes the riskier, more unfathomable things are the ones we want most.Also featuring the superbly talented Olympia Dukakis as Loretta’s ironically “angry at people who cheat” mother, this film is an absolute treat.
Not only a highlight of Cage’s career but also of cinema in the 80’s, Moonstruck is a lovingly made and even better-performed film. There’s something magical about listening to Cage talk about why snowflakes are perfect and he isn’t that makes you wonder why anyone would call his capabilities as an actor into question. As far as first entries into a new month’s theme go, this one is damn well worth the watch.