Corrina, Corrina (1994): Jessie Nelson’s Schmaltzy Romantic Melodrama, Starring Whoopi Goldberg and Ray Liotta

Written and directed by Jessie Nelson in her feature debut, Corrina, Corrina is a warmhearted romantic melodrama about a white widower (RayLiotta), who hires a black housekeeper (Whoopi Goldberg) to care for his daughter (Tina Majorino), and then falls for her.

It was the final film of Oscar winner Don Ameche, who died shortly after the shoot.

Set in Los Angeles in 1959, the tale begins with a wake for Annie Singer, leaving husband Manny (Ray Liotta) to raise their daughter Molly (Tina Majorino).

Manny’s mother Eva (Erica Yohn) and father Harry (Don Ameche) are worried about their son and granddaughter.  Clearly, a housekeeper or nanny is needed, and Corrina Washington (Whoopi Goldberg) interviews for the position.

Molly reacts well to Corrina and a strong bond is formed between them. Molly also spends time with Corrina’s sister and family, who take her to church.

At an office party, Manny meets Jenny (Wendy Crewson), a white divorcee with two sons, but Manny is not ready to date yet. Meanwhile, Corrina’s sister Jevina encourages her to date a black man, Anthony, but Corrina isn’t interested.

At school, Molly is mocked for adding Corrina to her family picture, and Jevina chastises Corrina for pretending to become part of this family.

Manny confides in Corina about Annie, and she talks about her former husband.  As they fall in love, they begin to face prejudice as an interracial couple.

Manny finds out that Corrina had been letting Molly skip school, the angry Mann tells her she is not Molly’s mother and fires her.  After Harry’s death, Manny apologizes to her. She brings him inside to meet her family, and the film ends with a reunion of Molly, Manny and Corrina.

The film received mixed to negative reviews from most critics, which might have accounted for its commercial failure, though in later years, it gained larger following when shown on TV or DVD.