A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this romantic comedy, which is far from the pre-packaged, predictable fare typical of the genre, has lots of heart, but does deal with mature themes like betrayal and deception, which are probably too weighty for kids. There's little swearing and nudity, though couples are shown in passionate embrace. There are also some arguments that may be a little bombastic for very young viewers (though hilarious for everyone else).
What's the story?
This award-winning comedy stars Cher as Loretta, a 37-year-old accountant who long gave up on passion after her first husband was killed by a bus. She chalks it up to bad luck; she wasn’t married in a church; she didn’t have a ring; her husband didn’t propose on his knee. Her current boyfriend (Danny Aiello), whom she likes but doesn’t love, has asked for her hand in marriage, and she has accepted. But he implores her to speak to his estranged brother (Nicolas Cage), a request that will start a chain of events that will change her life forever. Meantime, her father and mother may be on the outs, and a full moon presiding over the film is bringing out the daredevil in everyone.
Is it any good?
MOONSTRUCK is a playful creation with refreshing and charming twists and turns, so far removed from the formulaic fare often packaged as romantic comedy. There’s a reason it reaped so many awards -- writing, acting -- at the 1988 Academy Awards. First, there’s the premise, which could’ve easily veered into melodrama but instead found life as an offbeat meditation on passion. Then, there’s the ensemble -- so strong from the bit players to the lead, especially the captivating Cher. (Cage borders on hammy, but appeals, anyway.)
But it's also juxtaposed with moments of affecting reality (a man cheats on his longtime, devoted wife, played with such dexterity by Olympia Dukakis), which rescues it from maudlin. It also makes you think about how easily being moonstruck turns into being complacent, and how one can't rely on a celestial being, beautiful or not, to make an earth-bound relationship last for all time. That takes work.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: December 18, 1987
- On DVD or streaming: June 30, 1998
- Cast: Cher, Danny Aiello, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis
- Director: Norman Jewison
- Studio: MGM/UA
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: Parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
For kids who love romance
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