In most mob movies, the gangsters try to maintain some distance between business and family life.
Remember Michael Corleone telling Kay she could ask him about his business, just this one time?
Oh sure, in most Mafia films the wife might know the true nature of her husband’s dealings, and the children (or at least the sons) often will have the opportunity to join the family business — but only after they’ve reached a certain age.
Not so with Giovanni Manzoni, his wife and children in Luc Besson’s “The Family.” Giovanni (Robert De Niro) is a second-generation mobster turned informant, now in the Witness Protection Program, but his wife, Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer), his 17-year-old daughter, Belle, and his 14-year-old son, Warren, share Giovanni’s hair-trigger temper and his penchant for solving just about any dilemma with brutal violence.
You will not see “Short Term 12” among the marquee menu choices in most theaters, but you owe it to yourself to see this film, either at one of the four Chicago-area venues where it is playing or when it becomes available for home viewing.
It’s one of the best movies of the year and one of the truest portrayals I’ve ever seen about troubled teens and the people who dedicate their lives to trying to help them.
If that sounds like a homework assignment or an indie-fied “Afterschool Special,” it’s not. Although some of the kids in this film are going through some serious … stuff (as are some of the young adults counseling them) and there are some deeply intense passages, “Short Term 12” is also slyly funny, graceful, tender and peppered with moments of small joy.
The biggest problem with “Afternoon Delight” is if these were the people in your neighborhood, you’d start looking for another neighborhood.
Just about everyone in this film — including the people we’re supposed to like or at least want to spend time with — is self-absorbed, whiny and depressed.
Even the kids seem about one tantrum away from medicated assistance.
Kathryn Hahn is an actress known mostly for deftly played supporting characters on TV shows such as “Parks and Recreation” and “Girls,” and in movies such as “We’re the Millers.” She can be very funny.
You are currently browsing the blog.richardroeper.com blog archives for September, 2013.