Hollywood loves a good stereotype, and two of moviedom’s most enduring clichés are the Italian-American family and the Bronx. By cinematic convention, the former must contain a gangster; the latter is a crime-ridden hellhole. But True Love, a warm lookkat nice Italian-Americans in a real Bronx neighborhood, manages to tell a story with nary a gun drawn or a nose broken.
First-time director (and Bronx native) Nancy Savoca has crafted a sharply accurate cultural portrait. Compared to this fra diavolo, Moonstruck has all the ethnic flavor of SpaghettiOs. These unabashedly mundane characters ring so true that True Love could almost be a documentary.
As their wedding day nears, Donna (Annabella Sciorra) and Michael (Ron Eldard) lock horns in a tacit p per struggle. While she expects him to grow up and quit hanging out with his dumb buddies, stubborn macho values prevent him from ceding his freedom to a woman. Counseled by family and friends, the young lovers continue their emotional tug-of-war all the way to the grand wedding reception, where Michael makes one final, grandly stupid gesture before facing up to his new life.
Loaded with plenty of pungent details, True Love offers abundant food for thought merely by allowing realistic people to be theheelves. Left to the imagination, the couple’s future becomes a mirror of the audience’s own views about love, life, and marriage. While some viewers may simply laugh at the provincial accents and attitudes, many others will recognize universal truths. A-