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A Reel Life film section

Issue: Spring, 2013

The Family (2013) movie review

Happy Families


"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." - Leo Tolstoy.

The Manzoni family have just changed their names, again. They are your average nuclear family, mum, dad, two kids, except that they are in witness protection in France.

If you've seen the trailer, you've seen mum (Michelle Pfeiffer) practice a bit of arson when the locals make cracks about Americans, which should give you an idea of the way the whole family deals with problems.

The newly-minted Blakes are getting to know the neighbours and local school kids under the watchful eye of Robert Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones).

Movie poster, The Family, Festivale film review; 220x340

Movie poster, The Family
Some call it organized crime. Others call it family

Stansfield has a lot to contend with, starting with the mysterious disappearance of a man after an altercation with Stansfield in their previous location. Now Gio Manzoni/Blake (Robert De Niro) is writing his memoirs and investigating the source of the polluted water in his kitchen.

The kids are making their own way in school and heading towards their own resolutions when their far from idyllic lives are threatened.

This is a Mafia story that's been told before -- the bad man in witness protection, the Mafia looking for him. What raises this story above the mob, so to speak, is the wit with which it is told.

Well written and nicely performed, The Family is a wry, well-paced tale that captures one's interest from the opening moments and pulls the audience along to the inevitable storm of bullets. Recommended.

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by Ali Kayn
Australian release 24 October 2013
For credits and official site details, see below
Search Festivale for more work by the film-makers below.

See also: (by Luc Besson) The Fifth Element, The Assassin.

Just the facts:

Title: The Family (2013)
Written by: Luc Besson & Michael Caleo (scr); Tonino Benacquista (novel)
Directed by: Luc Besson
Running time: 111 mins
Rating: MA15+

The Players: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones, Dianna Agron, John D'Leo

Official website: Facebook page
IMDb entry

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