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Cher is outstanding in this film, as Loretta, a widowed Italian woman in 1980s New York. Her boyfriend Johnny (Danny Aiello) proposes to her, and Loretta agrees to marry him, although she admits that she doesn’t love him (and he doesn’t really seem to love her either). Just after they agree to marry, he flies to Sicily to visit his dying mother, but before he goes, he asks Loretta to contact his estranged brother Ronny (Nicolas Cage) and invite him to their wedding. Loretta does so, and discovers that Ronny is extremely bitter because he blames Johnny (somewhat unfairly) for the accident which caused Ronnie to lose his hand. But much to the surprise of both Loretta and Ronny, they start to fall in love with each other…

It’s a long time (20 years +) since I’ve seen this film, so I felt as though I was watching it for the first time, and truly I adored it! It has a perfect mixture of romance, comedy and drama, but more importantly it has a LOT of heart. As well as the relationship between Loretta and Ronny, the film concentrates on the relationship between Loretta’s parents, Rose and Cosmo (Olympia Dukakis and Vincent Gardenia).

The dialogue snaps and fizzes, and the chemistry between the actors – who are all excellent – is great. Cher proves (as if there was ever any doubt) that she acts as well as she sings, and Dukakis and Gardenia lend excellent support, as does Feodor Chaliapin as Loretta’s grandfather. Nicolas Cage – who I often find quite irritating as an actor – is also on fine form here, reminding people that when he wants to, he really can act. Despite the 18 year age gap between Cage and Cher, they actually look great together on screen.

The final scene is also an absolute joy and finishes the film off perfectly. And as if it weren’t perfect already, there are five ultra-cute dogs which appear throughout the film.

This is just a lovely feel-good film, and I’ll definitely be watching it again!

Year of release: 1987

Director: Norman Jewison

Writer: John Patrick Shanley

Main cast: Cher, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis, Vincent Gardenia, Feodor Chaliapin

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