Blu-Ray Review: Moonstruck

I wanted to love this movie.  I really did.  Often cited as one of the great romantic comedies of all time, I went into this expecting something absolutely remarkable.  It was even nominted for six Academy Awards (winning three of them).  Well, it didn’t take long for me to realize that I wasn’t going to be jumping on the Moonstruck bandwagon.  I mean, I can definitely appreciate that people respond so well to it, but some movies just aren’t for everyone.  And this tale of love/infidelity just didn’t work for me.

I say this as a huge Nicolas Cage fan as well.  Lately, he’s been phoning in his performances, but in his prime, he was a powerhouse actor, reveling in the over-the-top characters he got to play.  And his portrayal of Ronnie is fantastic, for what it is.  Cher also does a great job with the role that she is given.  Considering how authentic their relationship felt, I was surprised at how little I was able to get invested in their story.

Cher stars as Loretta, a superstitious woman from Brooklyn, who believes that she is cursed after the death of her husband.  Because of her fears, she decides to play it safe and marry a sensible man that she doesn’t love.  When he has to suddenly leave the country, she ends up falling for her new fiances younger brother while delivering invitations.  This begins a passionate and confusing affair, made all the more complicated by the romantic drama taking place within her own family.

And I think that’s where my problems with the film lie.  I just didn’t enjoy spending time with this family.  I suppose it’s a well written script, but I couldn’t get into the culture of this group of people.  Loretta’s parents have their own issues, and watching those in relation to her own just couldn’t capture my interest.  It’s a little too over-the-top for my taste, with every character spouting dialogue that feels as if it’s from a screenplay and not real life.

I was hoping that the extras on the newly released Blu-Ray would help shed some light on what it is that everybody loves about the film.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of material, and what’s there seems as if it comes from previous releases.  The first feature is an audio commentary with Cher, director Norman Jewisn and writer John Patrick Shanley (obviously recorded seperately and edited together).  It’s a pretty straightforward track, without a lot of pauses.  It’s a good track for fans of the film, with a lot of interesting insights, but nothing swayed me on the film.

The next extra is a documentary called “Moonstruck: At the Heart of an Italian Family.”  Running about 25 minutes, this features several interviews with the cast and crew.  It’s an interesting retrospective, and focuses on a lot of different aspects of the film, including the film’s ultimate extremely positive reception.

Also included is a very brief (about six minutes) analysis of the film’s soundtrack.  Overall, I wish I liked the film more.  As I said, I appreciated it more than I enjoyed it.  The acting is great and the screenplay is competent.  But the familiy dynamics just proved overwhelming to me, and the characters frustrating with their decisions.  If you’re already a fan, it’s a decent disc.  There’s nothing spectacular about it, but the picture looks good, and the sound works well with what is given.  It’s not that I found the film bad, I just wasn’t able to enjoy it.  Hopefully, others will get more out of it than I did.

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