Movie Review: The Family (2013)

 Luc Besson must have been a mischievous kid, and you could usually see that in his directing style: a smirk in the face. He is also the best writer that can show us a sarcastic view of his native France. His Fifth Element is one of my all time favourites, and I also like the original La Femme Nakita. The reviews of The Family were terrible during its theatrical release, so I didn’t pay to see it, and I thought the trailer said it all. However, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised that I really liked it, and in the back of my mind, I told myself that this must have been imported (remake of a successful European original like Taxi). That’s when I found out it was directed and scripted by Besson, and it made perfect sense. 



Another film with Robert De Niro, who plays Mafia boss, Giovanni Manzoni/Fred, in exile: witness protection. The family is again on a relocation, this time in a small village in Normandy. The matriarch of the family is Maggie(Michelle Pfeiffer), the daughter is Belle(Dianna Agron – Glee), and little brother is Warren(John D’Leo). The Blake’s family has landed in Normandy, and tries to integrate with its local people.

Right off the bat you know the members of the family are no Goody Two Shoes, so the question is really how bad will it escalate? and what will push each of them off the cliff, and when. In other words, every moment is like a cliffhanger, and that’s why I liked this film.

The outstanding part of this film, other than good direction, and the tongue-in-cheek of the abhorrent American tourists on French soil in French eyes, and yet the locals admire them secretly, is the three seasoned actors, De Niro, Pfeiffer, and who would have guessed, the stern face Tommy Lee Jones playing Robert Stansfield-FBI. Watching Lee Jones and De Niro face-off will worth every second of your time, and they have many scenes together!

The surprise is Agron, she could be the next offical Mean Girl. Pretty, sweet, innocent, and plays a smacking game of tennis, without the balls. Her sweetness shown through her genuine kindred with his little brother. D’Leo is probably a reflection of Besson.

I know Fred was a scumbag, yet I wanted them to escape from their past, which caught up with them eventually. In other words, at the end of the film, you will feel something for this family, and you want them to survive. How many times I have said that I didn’t like films that lack of clear characters development, this film will prove how essential that is. But I am merely an audience.

WATCH…Robert De Niro and Tommy Lee Jones, seriously (Two sharks in a tank)!


8 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Family (2013)

  1. Pingback: Movie Review: 3 Days to Kill (2013) | Film-o-analysis

  2. Pingback: Movie Review: Lucy(2014) | Film-o-analysis

  3. The film is definitely entertaining and mostly engaging throughout. And I agree the cast is really good, especially Agron and Pfeiffer.

    I don’t love it, though, mostly because I think it lacks a clear tone, a clear identity. It tries to do so much that it never quite settles on what it’s actually doing. Which makes it feel uneven throughout. Is it a dark comedy? An action thriller? A drama? A spoof? I’d argue it’s all of them and none of at the same time.


    • Don’t forget, part of it is the mockery between French arrogance and American big, loud and ineffectiveness, at least on the surface. I also see using Normandy as a reflection or parallel of the American invasion; the American culture is taking over French’s, and the French people are embracing it, but continue to b**ch about it. Fast-food is a good example. Remember Pfeiffer was watching Dallas dubbed in French …. that French TV now with American’s shows.

      Also, I would say the best part is that it didn’t fall apart and became something totally silly and stupid ( what I was expecting).


  4. Like you I’d been put off watching “The Family” so your review is refreshing, and your enthusiasm shines through.
    I’ve also got to say that even though I’ve grown up watching Michelle Pfeiffer, I have to concede that Diana Agron is the most beautiful woman in this movie….Wow she’s gorgeous!


    • That’s the problem with trailers, some tells it all, some just don’t know how to sell the film. If I were the PR, I would do a comic book head shot profile of each family member, and the French politely ensaring at the American… the true meaning of finding a needle in the haystack, eh! Cheers.

      P.S. Yes, Agron…She should play Carrie! mmmh, nah, too pretty.


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