Mask (1985): Cher Wins Cannes Fest Award for Playing Hippie Mom

Cher won the 1985 Cannes Film Fest acting kudo for playing a non-traditional mother in Mask.

After many failures, director Peter Bogdanovich makes sort of a comeback with this sensitive but unsentimental tale. In the hands of another director, it could have easily become a schmaltzy melodrama, a TV Movie of the Week.

Based on a true story, scripted by Anna Hamilton Phelon, the tale’s hero is a young, physically disabled boy, Rocky Dennis (Eric Stoltz), who has grown up among a gang of bikers.  Unlike most people, they manage too see past his facial disfigurement, they realize that deep down he is a teenage boy, motivated by the same instincts and desires as other “normal” boys.

Among many things, the movie shows a gang of bikers that is a surrogate family, loving and protective family to its members.

His mom (Cher) is a coiled spring of strength for her son but not always for herself.  However, drugs and her boyfriends gradually become a source of friction between mother and son.

Rocky’s hopes for the future are literally pinned to a map of Europe, which he plans to tour on a Harley.  Things change, when Rocky finds first love with a blind girl (the very young Laura Dern), who becomes his soul-mate.

Bogdanovich fought with Universal over the music.  He wished to use songs by Bruce Springsteen, but the studio refused to pay the royalties, and pressured him to use songs by Bob Seger.

The acting of the entire cast is excellent, including Sam Elliott, who plays Cher’s biker boyfriend.

Running time: 120 Minutes

Oscar Nominations: 1

Makeup: Michael Westmore and Zoltan Elek

Oscar Awards: 1