The Family (2013)

The Family (2013)

Run time: 110 min
Rating: 6.5
Genres: Action | Comedy | Crime
Director: Luc Besson
Writers: Luc Besson, Michael Caleo
Stars: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron
Trivia: The Manzoni family, a notorious mafia clan, is relocated to Normandy, France under the witness protection program, where fitting in soon becomes challenging as their old habits die hard.
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 the best efforts of CIA Agent Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones) to keep them in line, Fred Manzoni (Robert De Niro), his wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and their children Belle (Dianna Agron) and Warren (John D’Leo) can’t help but revert to old habits and blow their cover by handling their problems the “family” way, enabling their former mafia cronies to track them down. Chaos ensues as old scores are settled in the unlikeliest of settings in this darkly funny film by Luc Besson (Taken, Transporter). Written by Minoesch
Plot Keywords: mafia, witness protection, written by director, based on book
Country: USA, France
Release Date: 13 September 2013 (USA)
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  1. Post author

    "Like Al Capone said, asking polite with a gun in your hand is better than asking polite with nothing." Giovanni

    Family values in The Family are not your father's values unless, like me, your grandfather ran a numbers business in the basement of his barbershop. All of Kodak Park enjoyed that true color.

    The Giovanni Manzoni/Fred Blake (Robert De Niro) family has a paterfamilias who is a notorious Mafia don in the FBI witness protection plan. (De Niro as a mobster is the fall's most unimaginative casting but he's funny.) His values are ratting on his fellow Mafiosi to save his legal hide, forcing him to hide with a $20 million reward dogging him. The family's love for each other is unconditional and treats challenges with a baseball bat rather than diplomacy. If a Frenchman disrespects Americans, he might find his supermarket in flames.

    If this sounds like a story to turn the nuns' heads completely around, don't worry; it's ultra "black comedy," equal parts Italian-American gangster satire and laughable domestic shenanigans. That midway in the film Fred gets to speak on the merits of GoodFellas before a French crowd in Normandy is one of the nice meta-critical-comedic turns followed by carnage we've come to expect from Mob films. It's pretty much territory owned by Scorsese and De Niro. Additionally, the use of the "f" word has never been so deftly played in a comedy.

    Besides the joy of seeing De Niro have a good time with the many tough characters he has played in his career, you get to see Tommy Lee Jones play a gruff FBI agent, Robert Stansfield, who can trade barbs with his charge, Fred, who has such a propensity for violence (he beats up the only plumber within 20 miles of town) that Fred is a full time job for Robert. If Jones's face can't scare Fred into being a good boy, then the threat of losing witness protection does the trick.

    Directed with wicked tongue in cheek by La Femme Nikita's stylish Luc Besson, The Family sports an accomplished supporting cast: Michelle Pfeiffer as mom Maggie is gritty Brooklyn with her famous beauty well preserved. The two kids played by Diana Argon and John D'Leo are spot on sweetly dangerous as you might expect.

    It's all in GoodFellas fun, a mildly amusing and unusual story that beats many mainstream comedies this year.

  2. Post author

    I attended a screening of "The Family" a week before it opened in theaters. From the very first scene I was blown away. I was expecting a dark comedy, but I was pleasantly surprised that "The Family" was full of action and vendetta. Michelle Pfeiffer was outstanding as the clever mother who didn't take too kindly to people talking behind her back or stealing from her. Robert DeNiro was stellar as the father trying to do what he needs to do to protect his family but in need of an outlet of his own to maintain his sense of purpose and self. Then there are the children. Clever, meticulous, observant children. High school isn't a picnic by any means but they handled themselves well. Tommy Lee Jones co-starred as the family's handler and he sure can drive a car. There are twists, turns, shoot outs, explosions, fights, strategic use of a tennis racket and homage paid to "Goodfellas". I really enjoyed "The Family" and I will see it again.

  3. Post author

    THE FAMILY is one of my favorite movies this year. It's funny, it's witty, it's quick on its feet and it's surprisingly heartwarming. It's got firepower, it's got action, though it has a hard time finding peanut butter. What a great blend of family drama and gangster comedy. Luc Besson, the great director who brought us such masterpieces as Leon The Professional and The Fifth Element, is back and he's bringing with him a family that's as tough as their patriarch is. Led by three great thesps Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Tommy Lee Jones, and complimented by young talents like John D'Leo and Dianna Agron, THE FAMILY aims to entertain those of us who love a bit of Goodfellas added a hint of humor. Just like that old saying: Never go against the family.

    In a nutshell, it's about a family who was part of the mob right up until the patriarch, Robert De Niro ratted out the bosses and since then, De Niro's family has been in witness protection program, and the bosses in prison are still bent on finding them and killing them. De Niro's family got moved by the program to a new place in Normandy, France. Obviously it's a big drastic change from Brooklyn NY to France, so that in and of itself is already enough to let you know that hilarity that comes out of the difficulties of adjusting to a new place will ensue, including the bullish*t story that they have to come up with to explain where they're from or who they are to the new neighbors. Now.. unlike other gangster comedies, kinda like the ones that Guy Ritchie made, THE FAMILY does not show dumb bumbling criminals, the comedy in THE FAMILY banks on the short fuse and the temper that this Brooklyn family has, the violence exists because the reasons behind it are petty and that makes it funny. They try so hard to fit in and but because the new culture that they're in is extremely different, to a certain point it even looks down on them, they can't help but to unleash their old tough selves

    Robert De Niro is a legend, we all know that, he makes things look so easy. He's played gangster or mobster roles countless times before, he's even done it for comedy, anybody remember Analyze This?! So THE FAMILY is a walk in the park for him, he could probably do this blindfolded, but of course, he doesn't take it too lightly especially when sparring with other greats like Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones, whenever those three interact on screen, it's like the camera just wants more and more of them even when their lines are done and over. De Niro's character is a good father, with a terrible past, but is a good father to his kids, and it's killing him that he can't tell his story to the world. Pretending to be someone he's not, suffocates him. He starts writing his own memoir, which is discouraged by his handler, played by Tommy Lee Jones, but it's clear to see that all De Niro's character wants is some kind of appreciation, that despite the terrible things he's done, he's still a good man. Note the many use of the word F*CK that De Niro uses to express all kinds of range of emotions, it's definitely one of this movie's highlights. De Niro and Tommy's friendship relationship in this movie is a complicated one, you can tell that Tommy cares for De Niro and his family but at the same time there's duty that he has to uphold and strict protocol that must be followed by all involved if De Niro's family wants to survive. The kids, played by D'Leo and Agaron, face ordinary things that teenagers face, sexual tension, trying to fit in and figuring out how to be resourceful, there's also the matter of good ol' heartbreak, so this movie has a nice dose of family drama that doesn't beat around the bush, the pacing is just right. You can tell that they're aching, they're not enjoying life in hiding, they wish they could run away, but deep down they're not blaming each other because in a strange way, that lifestyle has brought them closer together.

    Another thing I love about THE FAMILY is that you get it or you understand why these characters stay together; why these people love each other, why Michelle's character and De Niro's character ever matched, and even their kids, played by D'Leo and Agron, display their parents traits; their take-no-bullish*t attitudes. They're physical, they're cunning, they won't hesitate to use a bat or a hammer to prove a point, they're easily offended, and all of that equals hilarious. Inflicting pain, gangster-style, is always hard to watch mainly because in gangster world, there are no limits as to what you can use to inflict pain, you improvise, the creativity is boundless, so the shock value is always there, director Luc Besson doesn't shy away but at the same time he never means for this movie to be straight up Scorsese, who by the way helped exec-produce THE FAMILY, this movie at its center wants to show you a dysfunctional family, a family who we would quickly judge, but they're a family nonetheless.


  4. Post author

    " Funny and bad at the same time with one powerhouse ending "

    Russell & Cissy Russell & Cissy's Entertainment Values With Spoilers

    Release Date: Friday, September 13, 2013 / Relativity Media

    R & C Warnings – violence, language (59, mostly the "Fancy" word), Gestures (1) and brief sexuality.

    Rating: R: Restricted: Run-time 1:52

    Russell & Cissy, the Two Movie Critics rate movies based on Entertainment Value only. Follow and LIKE us at


    Robert Deniro and Tommy Lee Jones take all the laughs in this mobster spoof.

    After ratting out his Mafia cohorts, Robert De Niro and his family enter the Witness Protection Program and relocate to Normandy.

    Despite their handler', Tommy Lee Jones' best efforts to keep them in line, De Niro his wife,Michelle Pfeiffer, and children Dianna Agron, John D'Leo can't help but resort to doing things the "family" way.

    However, their dependence on such old habits places everyone in danger from vengeful mobsters, and leads to one of the ' On the edge of your seat, power packed endings '

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