‘Love don’t make things nice – it ruins everything…’
There are people in this world that don’t enjoy the work of Nicolas Cage. For me, this is like turning your nose up at Mozart or Van Gogh. The man is an artist. An unorthodox dissident who plays by nobody’s rules. Not even his own. Whether or not he is a good actor is a different matter entirely, and it’s also irrelevant. What can’t be denied is that he is a great shouter. A wonderful noisemaker. A facial expression maestro. Moonstruck is another fine example of the world’s most ‘out there’ actor…
Loretta Castorini (Cher) is a fast talking, streetwise NYC broad who agrees to marry some schlub called Mr Johnny (Danny Aiello) despite the fact he doesn’t get down on one knee, he doesn’t have a ring and he is generally in thrall to his mother despite being a fully grown man. This uneasy union is weakened further when Loretta meets Ronny (Cage), Mr Johnny’s wildcard younger brother.
And what a meeting… Moonstruck meanders along just fine until Cage shows up. Cher is great in a role that would ultimately win her an Oscar and Frasier’s John Mahoney has a lovely cameo as a guy who keeps having drinks thrown on him in a restaurant. John Patrick Shanley’s wordy script (also Oscar winning) gives the talented cast plenty to work with but the film truly comes alive when Nic Cage shows up with a fake hand. Within the first five minutes of his appearance he has performed a shouty monologue whilst baking bread and knocking things over. It’s a scene that is Cage is microcosm; weird, hilarious and utterly unique. Predictably, he doesn’t let up for the entire movie, his trademark talk/shout voice stealing every scene (despite a fine turn from Cher who does a fine job in at least trying to rein him in).
Moonstruck is one of those wildly successful films that has become forgotten about in the years since its release, and this is a shame, because as romcoms go, it’s probably one of the best.