Corrina, Corrina (1994)

corrinaCorrina, Corrina” is a deeply touching film about a family who needs someone to step in and save them, but when someone does, they’re not sure how to take it.

Ray Liotta stars as Manny Singer, a young father who has just lost his wife. He has one child, a daughter named Molly (Tina Majorino) who was very attached to her mother and doesn’t know how to deal with the death. In the days and weeks following her mother’s passing, Molly refuses to talk, won’t interact with anyone, and shows other signs of great emotional distress. Manny’s not doing well either, and he finally decides he needs to bring in some help.

He finds that help in the form of Corrina Washington (Whoopi Goldberg). She’s a kind, generous woman who has a no-nonsense way about life. She comes into the home, makes everything fresh and bright, and begins working miracles with Molly. Soon, she and Molly have developed a great relationship and Molly is nearly back to her old self. But there’s a problem – it’s the late 1950s and Corrina is black. Molly’s white relatives are having issues with the fact that the girl and the housekeeper are such good friends. Corrina, too, is aware of the line she’s crossing and she wants to remain distant, but the girl’s needs are too pressing and she realizes that she’ll just have to keep making people uncomfortable in order to do what’s right.

Things get even more confusing when Manny is around. There’s an undeniable attraction between him and Corrina(which is understandable – Ray Liotta is very cute, after all) and when they realize they’re starting to have feelings for each other, they wonder if the whole arrangement is even a good idea. In the end, however, love wins out, and the barriers are broken down. Who cares what the neighbors say?

Many aspects of this film were beautiful. The way Corrina helped Molly come to terms with life again, the way she also helped Manny, her calm approach to life – all of it was brilliantly portrayed. The death of the mother was heart-breaking, as was Molly’s reaction to it, but so much hope and joy was felt by the end of the film. I saw it for the first time not long after it came out, and it’s a story that has stayed with me in the fourteen years since.

This film is rated PG.

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