The Amati Girls

Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
The Amati Girls Movie Poster Image
This movie's unhurried pace might bore kids.
  • PG
  • 2001
  • 91 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Amati girls aren't exactly career girls; those who seek independent jobs (in each case in the arts) rather than settling down to marriage are considered eccentric.


After an unexpected family death, one grief-stricken character desecrates a Catholic shrine. One Amati sister, suffering some vague neurological disorder, becomes unmanageable in times of stress.


Two young people fondle each other's chests on a first date.


Infrequent mild religiously-themed profanity.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Beer drinking in a bar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that kids will have to adapt to this movie's unhurried, non-MTV pace and style to enjoy the drama's homage to large, loving families.

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What's the story?

THE AMATI GIRLS follows the ups and downs of four sisters of Italian heritage. Eldest sibling Grace (Mercedes Ruehl) tries to be strong for her younger sisters while dealing with her own disappointments. Christine (Sean Young), who has a young daughter, must figure out whether to divorce her husband. Unconventional sister Denise (Dinah Manoff) avoids making it official with her boyfriend, while youngest sister Dolores (Lily Knight) struggles with a mental disability caused by an accident. Meanwhile, Amati matriarch Dolly (Cloris Leachman) thinks she's found the right man, but her daughters worry about the choice.

Is it any good?

Television is the place you'd most expect to find this type of reassuring, homey comedy-drama. Optimists would call it a good sign that this feature found a wide theatrical release, even with its untrendy PG rating. Too bad the movie isn't as worthwhile as its cast of familiar faces. Fine actors can only do so much with the weak dialogue and contrived colorful characters, as the plot takes twists and turns that are shamelessly manipulative. There are good intentions at work, as writer-director Anne de Salvo inserts a statement of purpose into the script when one sister complains, "Every Italian in the movies is either a gangster or a guy with tattoos or a guy delivering pizza!"

Thus, this non-violent ensemble brings viewers the loving, churchgoing but earthy Amatis as a friendly alternative to the corrupt, amoral Capones, Sopranos, and Corleones fighting endless mob wars. That's all fine, but one viewer complained that this movie's depiction of sauce-making mamma mias is no less of a stereotype than Little Italy hoods making Offers You Cannot Refuse.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the sisters' bonds, and how they worked through their problems and came together when things got tough.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dramas

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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