I've seen this film many time, but when I happened to catch it on television the other day, I had to watch it again. This 1994 film starring Ray Liotta and Whoopi Goldberg has such a quiet and endearing quality. Set in 1950's America, a man suddenly found himself widowed with a young daughter, who was so traumatized by the recent event, she stopped speaking. Desperate for help, Liotta's character eventually hired Corrina, played by Goldberg. Corrina was not a typical black woman in the 1950's. She was university educated and believed that she could rise above her station in life.
Molly and Corrina thefancarpet.com
I loved how meticulously the director paid attention to the details of costumes, gorgeous vintage cars, the music which flowed beautifully in the background and the set design. Hair styles were poofy and exaggerated, but right on the money. The movie also showed the stark contract between the white people's Utopian lifestyles versus the oppressed black people's way of just surviving day by day.
Manny - Liotta's character was a product jingle writer. His J-E-L-L-O song has always amused me. The rhyming was rudimentary, cheesy but very fitting for 1950's style and sensibilities.
I was both shocked and amused by how the adults freely smoked in their homes and in front of their children. Molly ended up destroying her daddy's cigarettes after seeing a television report about their link to cancer.
There was also a slowly blossoming romance between Manny and Corrina. Except for the obvious visual difference, they were in fact 2 peas in a pod with their love of music and lyrics. Corrina was an unlikely nanny and caregiver for Molly, but her unorthodox methods proved to be successful and they endeared her to Manny. Despite the many attempts by Manny's friends to set him up with women who were in his social class, Manny felt repelled by their vapid personalities and one dimensional thinking.
This film was criticized for not properly addressing the interracial relationship. There was some opposition in the storyline but not the level to which one would have expected in 1950's America. I like to look at this film as another fine example of an homage to vintage. It was beautifully presented and I like that just as much as a good human story.