Home Video Picks & Passes 11.22.20
New additions to the Criterion Collection have Catholic themes.
The Irishman (2019) — PICK
Moonstruck (1987) — PICK
Catholicism, confession, morality and mortality loom large in two very different new additions to the Criterion Collection.
Norman Jewison’s Moonstruck is a winning Brooklyn-set romantic comedy about a sensible widow, Loretta (Cher), who is swept off her feet by her unexciting fiancé’s moody, wounded younger brother (Nicolas Cage).
A key subplot revolves around Loretta’s mother, Rose (Olympia Dukakis), whose husband (Vincent Gardenia) has a mistress. Rose spends a moonlit evening with a charming professor who prefers to seduce students but is drawn to Rose’s self-possession.
But Rose can’t be seduced. “I know who I am,” she says, a line that ripples through the rest of the film. By the end, Rose’s moral triumph is complete and her husband will go to confession, as Loretta did in one of the better confessions in Hollywood history.
The Irishman is Martin Scorsese’s latter-day gangster epic about one version of the murder of Jimmy Hoffa, a three-act drama with an unexpected fourth act as Robert De Niro’s Frank Sheeran, now in a nursing home, struggles with the hollowness of his life.
A painful late scene with a priest trying to help Sheeran arrive at some kind of contrition offers a chilling counterpoint to Rose: Sheeran seems to have lost any true sense of self; he seems to be no one at all.
The Irishman: Sporadic graphic violence, implied adultery and pervasive profane and crude language. Mature viewing. Moonstruck: Off-screen nonmarital and extramarital sex. Teens and up.