The movie about the intricacies of Italian-American family life won three Oscars — a best actress nod for Cher (pictured above with costar Nicolas Cage), a best supporting actress citation to Olympia Dukakis and a best screenplay award for John Patrick Shanley — plus Academy Award nominations for best director (Norman Jewison) and best supporting actor (Vincent Gardenia).
There is, however, one small scene Joe finds unacceptable.
That’s when Rose Castorini (Dukakis, pictured below) is disrespectful to her father-in-law (Feodor Chaliapin Jr.), when he is feeding his dogs.
Now Joe knows the script for Moonstruck was written by Shanley, an Irish American writer, who had lots of Italian-American friends. Shanley wrote very successfully about Italian-Americans; but really, Mr. Shanley, Joe thinks this is one instance where your instincts for capturing the culture of the group misfired.
Of course, we all know that when a script is shot the writer may not have control and the fault could be with the film’s director, Jewison.
The character Rose might THINK these thoughts, she might even say them under her breath, but she would never verbalize those words to her father in law and NEVER in front of her husband.
No Italian-American man of that generation would ever allow his wife to show disrespect for his father or mother. All that said, the rest of the script captures the essence of the Italian-American experience. The film is now more than 25 years old, but the concept of “La Familia” is ageless.