Essay Sample: Ethnography in the Moonstruck Movie

Published: 2022-06-02
Essay Sample: Ethnography in the Moonstruck Movie
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Movie Ethnography
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 949 words
8 min read

Ethnography involves the scientific description of various cultures. The movie Moonstruck is built around a widowed Italian woman in her late thirties who falls in intimate love with her fiance. Initially, the film first featured in 1987 in New York, and after that, it featured in the national map in early 1988. Notably, this movie is based on a romance where it depicts emotional neglect and the truth of how things exist in the modern society. It appears to reveal a family love triangle where members are not satisfied by romance. The film was received wholeheartedly by the people where it received positive comments from critics. As a result of its reception, it was gauged among the best-paid films during that year in the whole of North America. The producers and characters in the Moonstruck are of Italian- American origin. It is comprised of a family residing in the United States, but their background is from Italy. That is why in the play some of the Italian words are recited. For example, when the movie is introduced, Italian song is sung as the film soundtrack. This indicates the fact that this family had traces of Italian origin. Some of the words are even used in the movie though translated to give the English meaning hence keeping the audience live (Shanley, 2015).

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The characters of the story though are of Italian origin, but the family lives in Brooklyn, New York in the United States where they work in various places within the estate. It is evident from the movie as we are informed that Loretta was a bookkeeper and she worked in Brooklyn Height where she lived with the whole of her family. Her father worked as a plumber within the town, and Ronny too worked at the bakery just in the city. Everything in this movie takes place in Brooklyn where we realize that existence of the full moon makes nights to look like it is daytime and this causes people to behave crazily when they come to the sight of the full moon.

The primary social conflict in the movie is love. There are several instances in the film where the struggle for love is mentioned. Being a romantic comedy, love is the primary social conflict in the story. Firstly, Loretta who is the main character of the story as all proceedings within the movie are rooted in her is caught in a love struggle. Initially married to a man several years ago, she is still widowed in her late thirties after the death of her husband that in a road accident. She finds a new lover in Jonny who proposes to marry her even though she confesses to her mother that she does not love him (Shanley, 2015). Unfortunately, while Jonny is away to see his ailing mother, Loretta goes to Ronny who is Jonny's brother working at the bakery to invite him to their planned wedding officially. Here, the unthinkable happens as Ronny goes to bed with Loretta. In their marriages proposals, Loretta insists on the following tradition as she believes that it was because they did not follow a tradition that caused her former husband's death through accident and therefore she thought the same would happen. In this case, superstition is observed as another social conflict because Loretta believed in traditions.

Nonetheless, conflict of love is noticed when Loretta's father Cosmo is revealed to be having a secret girlfriend, Mona (Lerner, 2007). It is further explained when Rose is angered by the fact that his husband is moving with another wife outside. This makes her ask why men cheat and she is informed that it could be because of the fear of death. She uses this statement the next time when Cosmo came back to the house late in the night by telling him that even if he does all that, he will still die. This is a love conflict between two old lovebirds also though the tone sounds humor (Shanley, 2015). It is the reason why the film captured the attention of many because of its fun and humor loaded content. It is also worth noting to state that betrayal is another social conflict underlying the story Moonstruck. In the movie, firstly we observe Ronny betraying his brother by going to bed with his proposed love Loretta. At the same time, Loretta also reveals Jonny while he is away to see his sickling old mother. It is further compounded when Jonny declines to wed Loretta and the final stage with fear that if he proceeded to marry her, then his mother would die (Lerner, 2007). At this stage, another instance of superstition is observed. Finally, after the wedding plans between Jonny and Loretta had been squashed away by events, Loretta throws away the wedding ring and Ronny, in her funny nature and desire for love, ask for the ring and request Loretta to marry him, Loretta then accepts and announces her love for Ronny.

The story is underlined by various cultural features ranging from the types of food and the types of clothes that gave the movie such a traditional taste of events. The culture of the Italian family is also displayed when the family is observed to be having a critical family talk in the kitchen where Italians are believed to sort out important issues according to their culture.

In conclusion, the movie Moonstruck was developed and directed majorly as a love comedy but has got a lot of family teachings as seen in the various conflicts and betrayals within the framework of the movie.


Lerner, E. M. (2007). Moonstruck. Riverdale, N.Y: Baen.

Shanley, J. P. (2015). Moonstruck, Joe versus the volcano, and Five corners: Screenplays. New York: Grove.

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