Corrina, Corrina [1994]

Ray Liotta plays a 1950s jingle composer whose wife dies, leaving him to raise their grieving young daughter (Tina Majorino) alone. Dad hires an African-American housekeeper (Whoopi Goldberg), who helps fill the gap in the child's life--and then Dad's life--and soon an interracial relationship crossing the social mores of the era is underway. Written and directed by Jessie Nelson, the film is a spot-on recreation of '50s suburbia without gratuitous kitsch. Liotta is perfect as a working man of the day, given to white shirts and narrow ties; Goldberg gives one of her finest performances as the levelheaded Corrina; and little Majorino is heartbreakingly effective. But the film entirely bears the stamp of one person, and that's Nelson, who has a wonderfully witty eye and a sophisticated but sensitive approach to the crosscurrents of emotion at play in this story. --Tom Keogh

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