Moonstruck (1987): Norman Jewison’s Romantic Comedy, Starris Nicolas Cage and Cher in Oscar-Winning Performance

In “Moonstruck,” Norman Jewison’s likeable romanticd comedy, Cher had the best role of her abrupted screen career, catapulting her to the forefront with the help of an oscar-winning performance.

Cher plays a young middle-aged widow, who works as a bookkeeper and still lives with her parents (Olympia Dukakis and Vincent gardenia) and her grandfather (Russin born Feodor Chalipain).

She’s talked into marrying her old, rather crass boyfriend (Danny Aiello), though clearly she does not love him. All is set for a wedding until she meets and falls in love with her fiance’s younger brother (Nicolas Cage).

Since Cher, then 41, was dating at the time a man who was half her age, Robert Camilletti (23), inevitable comparisons were made between her role on screen and off (which actually helped elevate the visibility and popularity of the comedy).

Featuring some witty one-liners, the comedy is sharply observed by John Patrick Shanley (better known as a playwright), who won the Original Screenplay Oscar.

Needless to say, most members of the family are eccentrics in one way or another, and watching the naturally sexy Cher transform herself on screen from an uglay duckly to a swan was an extra benefit.

The upbat ending, with all the various members forgetting their differences and endless arguments, winding up as one big happy family might be too pat and neat, but it conforms to the dicatates of the genre and made the audiences feel good about themselves.

The varied soundtrack includes Dean Martin’s hit, “That’s Amore,” arias from Puccini’s famous opera “La Boheme,” and Vikki Carr’s “It Must Be Him.”

Oscar Nominations: 6

Produced by Patrick Palmer and Norman Jewison
Director: Norman Jewison
Screenplay (Original): John Patrick Shanley
Actress: Cher
Supporting Actress: Olympia Dukakis
Supporting Actor: Vincent Gardenia

Oscar Awards: 3

Screenplay
Actress
Supporting Actress

Oscar Context

Bernardo Bertolucci’s historical epic “The Last Emperor” swept most (nine) of the 1987 Oscars, and it’s one of the few films in the Academy’s history to have won in each and every nominated category. The four other Best Picture nominees were: James L. Brooks’ “Broadcast News,” Adrian Lyne’s “Fatal Attraction,” and John Boorman’s autobiographical “Hope and Glory.”

Sean Connery won the Supporting Actor Oscar for “The Untouchables.”