Fun. That should probably be the end of the review… but I’m not sure that a one-word review is worth much to most people. Mafia Mamma is, simply put, a lot of fun. That said, I think there’s one important aspect that must be mentioned up front, as a lot of film viewers see this as a deal breaker – portions of the film are subtitled. This doesn’t bother me. While I absolutely hate dubbed films, I adore subtitles, but I know there are a lot of people who either won’t watch subtitled films, or need to be in a certain mood to watch them. That said, I highly recommend that you still check this film out, even if subtitles are typically a deal breaker.
The best part of Mafia Mamma is, without a doubt, Toni Collette. You often hear people talk about Tatiana Maslany’s performance in Orphan Black and it was brilliant, but before she gave us Sarah Manning and her sisters, Toni Collette gave us Tara Gregson. United States of Tara was the show that made me fall in love with Toni Collette’s acting. Her performance of multiple identities impacting the life of a person with dissociative identity disorder was game changing and I feel like it paved the way for Maslany’s performance in Orphan Black. Mafia Mamma reinforces what a great actor Collette is.
In Mafia Mamma, Collette plays Kristin, a woman whose life is likely pretty relatable for many. She works a job where her ideas are disregarded due to a ridiculously high level of misogyny, her only son is moving away, and her husband is having an affair. She lives a dull life, yet it is quite clear that she’s capable of so much more. The “more” comes by way of a phone call from Bianca (Monica Bellucci), who informs Kristin that her grandfather in Italy has passed away… a grandfather that Kristin never knew… a grandfather who, as it turns out, was a mob boss.
Kristin travels to Italy for the funeral and finds herself involved in so much more – a potential relationship, a new found friendship, and a plethora of criminal activity. The film had the potential to go sideways, but it stays on track by expertly blending comedy and crime. The comedy often slides silently into the background, improving scenes without stealing attention. Much of this comedy is provided by Francesco Mastroianni and Alfonso Perugini who play Aldo and Dante, the bodyguards assigned to Kristin. While Kristin provides humanity and Bianca provides strength, Aldo and Dante keep you laughing… even in the background they are a delight to watch on screen. Watching Bianca soften and Kristin grow into a new role are highlights of the film, but it was the laughs that these two bodyguards provided that kept me invested from start to finish.
I don’t want to spoil the film by discussing any scenes, but let me just say that when the film is funny, it is really funny and when it is serious, Aldo and Dante still keep it light and fun. The writers and director on this film found a balance that works and maintained it to entire time. With Collette’s depth of acting and Bellucci’s ability to standout on screen without saying a word, the film is perfection. When I first started writing this, I gave it 4.5-stars, but as I thought back to the performances and the quality of the script and direction, I had no choice but to increase the rating to 5-stars… the film deserves it.
Mafia Mamma was released in theatres on April 14.
Movie title: Mafia Mamma
Movie description: MAFIA MAMMA follows an insecure American woman (Toni Collette) who unexpectedly inherits her grandfather’s mafia empire in Italy. Guided by the firm’s trusted consigliere (Monica Bellucci), she hilariously defies everyone’s expectations, including her own, as the new head of the family business.
Date published: 2023-04-14
Director(s): Catherine Hardwicke
Actor(s): Toni Collette, Monica Bellucci, Sophia Nomvete, Giulio Corso, Francesco Mastroianni, Alfonso Perugini, Eduardo Scarpetta, Tim Daish, Tommy Rodger
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