Corrina, Corrina (film)
Corrina, Corrina is a 1994 American feature film set in 1959 about a widower (Ray Liotta) who hires a housekeeper/nanny (Whoopi Goldberg) to care for his daughter (Tina Majorino). It was written and directed by Jessie Nelson, in her feature film directing debut. It was the final film in which Don Ameche starred; he died shortly after filming was completed.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jessie Nelson|
|Produced by||Paula Mazur|
|Written by||Jessie Nelson|
|Music by||Rick Cox|
|Edited by||Lee Percy|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Box office||$20.1 million|
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The film opens in late 1950s Los Angeles at a quiet pot-luck wake for Annie Singer, who has died and left husband Manny (Ray Liotta) and daughter Molly (Tina Majorino). We meet Manny's mother Eva (Erica Yohn) and father Harry (Don Ameche) and the other characters. As friends and family leave, it is apparent that Manny is in for difficulty. Molly will no longer speak due to her mother's passing, and there is a need for a housekeeper/nanny so that Manny can return to a shaky job writing commercial jingles for his best friend and boss, Sid (Larry Miller).
After one nanny washes out, Corrina Washington (Whoopi Goldberg) interviews for the position. Molly responds well to Corrina and Manny hires her. Very quickly a strong bond is formed between them. Corrina works out a system to "talk" with her without making her speak. Corrina sees the early struggles of life after Annie's passing, and Molly slowly begins to interact more with Corrina. Molly also begins to spend time with Corrina's sister and family, who take her to church and welcome her into their home. At an office party, Manny is introduced to Jenny (Wendy Crewson), a perky white divorcee with two sons. Manny is still struggling with losing Annie and is not ready to date. Corrina's sister Jevina encourages her to date a black man, Anthony, but Corrina isn't interested.
A frightened Molly returns to school where she is mocked for adding Corrina to her family picture. She runs into Corrina's arms at the end of the day, desperate to go home. That night, Molly awakes from a nightmare, Corrina and Manny run to her side but she is scared and angry. Corrina tells her she is allowed to be mad. Manny admits to her how hurt he is about losing Annie and how much he misses her too. That night Jevina chastises Corrina for pretending to become a part of this family.
A terrified Molly begs Corrina to let her stay home from school and she secretly agrees. Corrina spends more time with them, and she and Manny slowly discover they are more compatible with each other than anyone else. He confides in her about Annie and she talks about her long gone former husband. They share a love of music and she even assists him on his new jingle. After a successful advertising campaign, he comes home with flowers for Molly as well as Corrina. Their private celebration is interrupted by a visit from Jenny, which Corrina takes as a cue that she is not meant to stay.
The next day, a flustered Corrina goes to work where Manny apologizes for Jenny's uninvited visit. As they say goodbye, they share a kiss on the cheek, which Manny's nosey neighbor sees. Corrina and Manny begin to fall in love and face prejudice as an interracial couple. Molly asks her grandfather Harry to make sure that Manny marries Corrina. That night, Corrina and Manny talk about their spouses and share a moonlight dance and kiss that is witnessed by Molly.
After weeks of not attending school, Corrina thinks it's almost time for Molly to go back, but she says she's not yet ready, and Manny finds out that Corrina had been letting her skip school. In a fit of anger, he tells her that she is not Molly's mother and fires her, taking a heartbroken Molly home. Molly becomes withdrawn again, and Manny learns that Harry has died. After the funeral, he goes to visit Corrina at her house to tell her of Harry's passing and to properly apologize. After an unsuccessful talk, she overhears his not-so quiet prayers to God to help him out. She informs him that she quit and he assures her that she was replaced. They embrace and he begins to kiss her. She brings him inside to formally meet her family. The film ends with Molly singing "This Little Light of Mine" in order to cheer up Eva. Finally, she gives in and joins her in the joyful song. Soon Manny and Corrina show up and Molly joyfully runs to Corrina as the credits roll.
The film received mixed reviews from many film critics criticizing Nelson's failure to fully address the complications surrounding a romantic interracial relationship in the 1950s. Roger Ebert confessed that he enjoyed it but wrote, "...seems almost as shy as the characters about the charged issues of race and romance. After it was over I felt that, yes, it was warm and good-hearted, but there was more of a story there to be told." Janet Maslin of The New York Times praised the actors and actresses for their work on it but echoed a similar criticism regarding Manny and Corrina's relationship, "The affection between them is evident, but not even by the end of her story has Ms. Nelson decided what sort of affection it is. That may be true to life, but for an otherwise mainstream movie, it's trouble." It currently holds a 39% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 18 reviews.
The film was not a box office success, grossing $20,160,000 in the U.S. However, due to the film's consistent showing on the TBS channel, the film became a favorite and also found a new audience.
- Corrina, Corrina at Box Office Mojo
- "Overview for Don Ameche". Tcm.com. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
- "Corrina, Corrina". Chicago Sun-Times.
- Maslin, Janet (1994-08-12). "FILM REVIEW; A Wise Housekeeper Tries to Tidy Up a Bereft Family". The New York Times.
- Dutka, Elaine (1994-08-30). "Weekend Box Office : 'Killers' Takes 'em by Surprise". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-11.