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The Family

The Family

In Theatres: 
Sep 13, 2013
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 50 Minutes
I’m a huge Robert DeNiro fan, so I’ll pretty much watch anything with his name on it, but still I went into this screening of The Family with low expectations and was rewarded with a fun night out at the cinema. 
In the dark action comedy The Family, a Mafia boss and his family are relocated to a sleepy town in France under the Witness Protection Program after snitching on the mob. Despite Agent Stansfield’s (Tommy Lee Jones) best efforts to keep them in line, Fred Blake (De Niro), his wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and their children, Belle (Dianna Agron) and Warren (John D’Leo), can’t help resorting to old habits by handling their problems the “family” way. Chaos ensues as their former Mafia cronies try to track them down and scores are settled in the unlikeliest of settings.French director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, Taken) adds a darker, clever and artsy feel to the film. 
I was expecting another rehashing of Analyze That and My Blue Heaven, but it was darker and more artistic than its plot line predecessors. It’s a mix of a mob comedy, suspense and foreign film. At times you can tell the direction and narrative were very aware of its own genre setting and plot clichés, so instead of turning a blind eye it decided to poke fun of itself. Overall, it was light-hearted, fun, entertaining and smart. 
Although I might inwardly laugh at films and TV shows, it is very rare that I’ll laugh out loud. Yet, there is a scene, I don’t want to ruin it though, where Scorsese’s name gets mentioned and I was dying at the irony. Very clever. 
It was also great seeing Pfeiffer and DeNiro share a scene together, because although they were both in Stardust and New Year’s Eve, the two heavyweights have never acted alongside each other. I though Michelle did a great job being the family matriarch and showed a lot of emotion in a particular harrowing scene near the end. Besides the veteran star actors though, I was really impressed with the kids, which had more of a lead role than I was expecting. I’m not a Glee fan, so wasn’t familiar with Agron, but she was enchanting like the innocent temptress that she plays in the film. And D’Leo was charming as a little con man. 
My only criticisms were that it was slow to start, but it eventually picks up and there were some plot lines and backstories left unexplained. Also, don’t be fooled thinking it’s solely a comedy as there are a couple of quick violent scenes, which you’d expect from a true mobster film. I had to avert my eyes even. 
Bottom line, go spend some time with The Family

Read more from Tara at her blog, When Tara Met Blog.

Tara Settembre
Review by Tara Settembre
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Joe's picture

this was a very worthwhile movie that was worth seeing