The Way We Get By: Lake Bell on Moonstruck

The actress and writer-director suggests you let Cher take the reins to help us all through coronavirus lockdown.

Most of us are sequestered in our homes, doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. That includes some of our favorite artists, so we’re asking them to tell us about one thing — a book, a movie, a record, whatever — that’s helping them get through this difficult time.

I have a gratitude attitude, day in, day out. But, like anyone who’s now cooped up, how I feel fluctuates contingent on whether my head is in my phone and I’m reading about what’s happening in the outside world and feeling responsible for learning, understanding, and keeping up with every tiny development in every news story. Because there’s also my responsibility to be a really good mom, and to be healthy in my brain and my body, I have to take pause. So, at times I take on the weight of the world and cry and ache for people, particularly the healthcare workers and medical professionals on the frontlines, and then at other times I get very fixated on who’s not participating in the lockdown as well as they should. And that kind of thinking is not productive.

What is productive is to do my best to adhere to what the CDC is begging us to do, which is to stay at home, be vigilant if we have to leave to get supplies, and scour ourselves with disinfectant before we go back into our homes. So that is how my family is operating, while we’re continuing to connect with the outside world through social media, Zoom meetings, FaceTime meetings and Marco Polo. As I have little kids, it’s crucial to make sure they stay healthy and that we’re present for them, both physically and emotionally.

My mom watches news all day long, and she told me recently, “I’m in a slump and feel like I can’t pull myself out of it because I’m always thinking about what’s happening in the world …” I said, “You need to watch some movies,” so I gave her a list of film recommendations. The movie on the list that I particularly want to recommend today is Moonstruck, which is one of my favorite movies in the world. I recommend everybody to watch it because it is a flawless romantic comedy, it’s Nicolas Cage in his heyday, Cher in all her greatness, and the supporting cast – Olympia Dukakis! Danny Aiello! – is unreal. As someone who grew up in New York City, it’s very nostalgic too. If you take the ride with this super romantic, hilarious New York story, it is so magical and uplifting, particularly when you’re struggling to remember how things used to be. There’s something about it that transports me. I need to get a still of Nic Cage and Cher from the movie framed, just so I can have it in my office to enjoy.

I’ve always loved Moonstruck and have seen it a hundred times, but it’s especially wonderful to rewatch it at this time. I told my mom, “See the movie, enjoy yourself and allow yourself these two hours where you go on this hilarious romantic journey … with Cher!” Right now, we need to let Cher take care of everything. Let Cher take the reins.

Lake Bell serves as co-creator, co-writer, executive producer, and star opposite Dax Shepard in ABC’s Bless This Mess, a new single-camera comedy that centers on a newlywed couple that gives up their drab and unfulfilling lives in New York and moves to Nebraska for a simpler life. Bell also directed the pilot, and the series will return for its second season this upcoming Fall. Bell can currently be seen reprising her role as the lackadaisical cat Chloe in the second installment of Universal’s The Secret Life of Pets 2 opposite Patton Oswalt, Bobby Moynihan, Jenny Slate, Dana Carvey, Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart. This fall, Bell will be voicing Poison Ivy in the upcoming DC Universe animated series Harley Quinn. Bell made her debut as writer-director-star with the acclaimed 2013 comedy In a World, and in 2016 followed it up with I Do … Until I Don’t, a romantic comedy about marriage in which she co-starred with Ed Helms, Mary Steenburgen, Paul Reiser, Amber Heard, Wyatt Cenac and Dolly Wells.