Cher: The Film Collection on DVD
by Elaine Hegwood Bowen
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The six DVD set of Cher movies that includes Good Times, Chastity, Silkwood, Moonstruck, Mermaids and Tea with Mussolini is great movie watching. The set called Cher: The Film Collection, available from 20th Century Fox, is packed in a brilliant boxed set with Cher gracing the cover.
While watching the movies, beginning with Good Times, which features Sonny and Cher in a movie about Cher’s reluctance to make a movie, you can see such a young Cher who seems to be just as beautiful and youthful today. Good Times is the husband and wife team’s one and only movie together, and is a “happy, affectionate, and loveably surreal film.” The script stinks, but Sonny thinks there are redeeming points to be made, so he’s offered to rewrite the script in 10 days in order to sway Cher back to his side.
Chastity was made in 1969 and shows Cher as a reckless rebel who seems to pick up man after man, offering her acidic, sharp tongue, whenever she gets a chance. She puts herself in some awkward, threatening situations, while taking a “gritty, gutsy ride through a powerful, emotional landscape filled with love, adventure, tragedy and truth.” Once she finds herself in Mexico, Chastity finds that her options are fewer and fewer and that she might just have to run back into the arms of the only man who really loves her.
Silkwood is a 1983 movie that stars Cher with Meryl Streep and Kurt Russell as they all work at an Oklahoma nuclear facility that is exposing the workers to toxic radiation. Cher sets off to prove the company’s wrongdoing, but her activism may come at a costly price and possibly place her own life in danger.
Moonstruck is the love story of 1987 that puts Cher and Nicolas Cage together, as Cher falls for her fiancé’s brother right before her wedding day. Cher’s dilemma and her equally passionate and hilariously eccentric family make for an unforgettable film that’s been called “beguiling” and “enchanting.”
Mermaids is set in the 60’s but screened in 1990, with Cher, Winona Ryder and very young Christina Ricci, as a mom with two daughters trying to live life by the seat of their pants. Cher plays a sexy, funky mom who once she finds and loses love in one town sets off for the next. Her older daughter wants to be a nun and finds herself developing a crush over an older man who works at the rectory in the Boston area town where the family now lives. The trick to this move is that Bob Hoskins, who plays a shoe store owner, falls for Cher, and she’s faced with deciding whether to be mean to him or open her heart for good. After a tragedy involving the younger daughter, the three women, even though they are often at each other’s throats, know that their love can be the only thing to save them.
Tea With Mussolini is a 1990 film that stars Cher and Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Maggie Smith, among others. Pre-War Florence is the place to be for any proper British woman who relishes culture and the arts. These ladies have everything they could ever want or need, including a promise from Dictator Mussolini himself that not even the imminent world war will impose upon their lifestyle. But when it appears that his word is not kept, and these expatriates who chose to stay in Italy instead of seeking refuge in their own country are in trouble, it takes a young outcast boy and a brazen American woman (Cher) to keep them in the high life and out of harm’s way.
It was amazing to watch Cher go in and out of movie roles with such ease. Her youthful fanciness in the lighter roles to the seriousness that she lent to the more involved roles are performances worth watching over and over again. It was good to see Sonny in Good Times, when the couple obviously was enjoying good times.
Cher: The Film Collection has been released right in time for Cher’s latest feature film Burlesque. The DVD is available now from 20th Century Fox. For more information, visit www.foxconnect.com.
Elaine Hegwood Bowen is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago.
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