Dave Hodder takes a look at action-crime-comedy-romance Mafia Mamma.
“Being a Mafia Boss doesn’t make you a bad person.”
Mafia Mamma stars Toni Collette as Kristin, a recent empty nester and frustrated career-woman, unappreciated by her husband and overlooked at work, who inherits her grandfather’s Italian Vineyard upon his passing. At first reluctant to travel to the funeral, a series of events changes her mind and she finds herself on a flight to Rome, as she has become tired of her life in America.
Upon landing she literally falls for the incredibly handsome Lorenzo, (expertly played by Giulio Corso) but is whisked away by her Italian family before she has the chance to explore this further. At the end of the funeral, Kristin’s grandfather’s true vocation is revealed. He was a Mafia boss and has selected her to take the reins of the family business.
So begins a classic fish out of water caper, cleverly combining comedy, romance and action in a smooth and enjoyable romp through Kristin’s journey from reluctance to reluctant acceptance to a full on “I’ve got this” embracing of her role as the head of a crime syndicate.
Assisted by Bianca, (played wonderfully by Monica Bellucci), Kristin gets to grips with the pressures of running such an empire and fending off the competition from a rival Mafia family. Kristin channels her years of built up frustration into her dealings with this rival family, and it feels good to see her achieve the release of all her pent up anger. Ultimately Kristin learns that she can combine her old world with her new world and this is beautifully realised in a touching montage.
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, the film contains a series of classic action shots which would not feel out of place in an all-out action movie, whilst the scene involving Kristin’s grandfather’s video message is played for laughs and succeeds in achieving this. There is a wonderfully over the top boardroom scene which rams home the years of misogyny that Kristin has had to face in her role at the cosmetics company she works for.
I remember many years ago learning about metaphors in movies, but did not at the time think I would see these metaphors shot using a muffin. No spoilers, but I have seen one now and it works very well! The writing here is light-hearted and deep at the same time. There is one line referencing The Godfather which perfectly sums up the struggles of a woman who is raising a child whilst striving for a career at the same time.
This film has all the hallmarks of a classic mob movie whilst at the same time respectfully poking fun at the genre. All in all it’s a fun film and definitely worth an hour and 40 minutes of your time.
Mafia Mamma is streaming on Prime Video from 17th November.