The Family

27 Nov

Giovanni Manzoni (played by Robert De Niro) was born into one of the Italian families that runs “the business” allover New York City. At 13 years of age he joins in and is soon a big part of the entire operation. Everything goes well, he meets and marries the love of his life, Maggie (by Michelle Pfeiffer) and they have two beautiful and very smart children – daughter Belle (by Dianna Agron) and son Warren (by John D’Leo). The children learn a lot from their parents and they’re worldly wise, far beyond their years. One day, Giovanni has a change of heart and he “sings like a birdy” to the Feds. As a result, he’s put into the Witness Protection Program and is now living as Fred Blake and his adorable American family in France. As a snitch, the people from the business back in New York have never forgiven or forgotten him – and they’re on his tail. The Manzoni’s do their best to settle in France, but every time someone disrespects “Fred”, he can’t help himself … oops, I just killed another one …. then patient but exasperated Agent Robert Stansfield (by Tommy Lee Jones) has to find another safe house and move them all on … again. The family have reached a quiet village in Normandy, in northern France. They settle in to school, church and the community and things seem relatively calm – until … back in New York, the mob find out where they are and the boss sends his guys to take care of Giovanni and all the Manzoni’s, once and for all …

This movie takes you by surprise. It’s a quirky and dark story, but is very entertaining. The setting, in a sleepy French village, is divine – and just totally opposite to the lifestyle of Giovanni and his family – they’re all hot-tempered, apparently placid until something gets under their skin, then they react … they REALLY react! It’s the kind of movie you just keep watching because you really want to know what’s going to happen. There are some great comedy moments – made all the better because these veteran performers are all good at their craft. Robert De Niro plays dead-pan comedy with such class, as do Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones – they’re all great. As daughter Belle, Dianna Agron is lovely – and she is aptly named, she really shines on screen. As Warren, John D’Leo is very good – watch for both of these young people in more movies. Both characters are multi-layered and they do very well. It’s great to see Vincent Pastore here too as “Fat Willy”, a mobster (what else??). The movie is based on the book “Malavita (Badfellas)” by Tonino Benacquista. Well done, Luc Besson and everyone involved.

Made in 2013. Directed by Luc Besson

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Posted by on November 27, 2014 in Movies


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