The Family



Funny but imperfect mob comedy has violence, language.
  • Review Date: September 13, 2013
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 111 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There's nothing like family to make things better, even if they're wacky (or just busy whacking somebody).

Positive role models

In truth, there are many reasons not to trust the Blake family. But it's amazing how much they have one another's back, love one another dearly, and aren't afraid to show it. A young woman stands up for herself and won't let boys take advantage of her (even if she does beat them to a pulp when they try to).


The movie's mood is often comic, but there's nearly an endless parade of scenes showing mobsters (and their families) avenging themselves or exacting punishment, including beating others with tennis rackets, bats, and other implements; dragging people down the street by a rope; shooting them point blank; blanketing them with bullets from semi-automatics; planting and exploding bombs; etc. The (rough) opening scene sets the tone: A family is sitting down for dinner when there's a knock at the door; when the father goes to open it, he's blasted across the floor. Then the man at the door walks in and point-blank shoots the mother and the two children.


One scene shows an older man having sex with a high school student; no sensitive body parts are visible, but it's clear that they're having intercourse. Sexual innuendoes between a married couple.


Many uses of "f--k." Also "s--t," "hell," "a--hole," "ass," "damn," "goddamn," and "sonofabitch."


Products/brands seen include Peugeot, Citroen, and other French brands, plus Coca-Cola, BMW, Cadillac, and Brother.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some wine-drinking and cigarette smoking. Although one kid is said to run the cigarette concession at her school, she's not shown smoking. Giovanni's son fakes an injury to get to the school nurse's office. While there, he steals two vials of prescription drugs (pills) and deals them to a student.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Family is a mix of comic hijinks, mobster violence, and, to a lesser extent, melancholy. Because it's about an ex-mob boss (now in the Witness Protection Program), there are many scenes filled with Mafia hit jobs, with varying degrees of violence, from smacks to beatdowns to fatal shootings and explosions. Expect plenty of strong language, too, particularly "f--k" (the word's supposed ability to express so much is a running theme), and a scene in which an adult beds a teenager (no sensitive body parts shown, but it's clear they're having sex). Some drinking, smoking, and product placement as well.

What's the story?

Giovanni Manzoni (Robert De Niro) narced on his mob family, a choice that sends him and his own family into the Witness Protection Program. But, of course, Giovanni's enemies aren't taking his decision in stride; they're crawling all over Europe, determined to find him and silence him forever. And the Manzonis are making it a little too easy for them: They just can't behave. His wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) will blow you up -- literally -- if you say a mean word about her family; their two kids (Dianna Agron and John D'Leo) are using seduction and subterfuge to "fit in" at school. And Giovanni himself can't resist his violent urges, even when he's trying to deploy them for good. Their FBI protector (Tommy Lee Jones) is fed up with their shenanigans, especially when Giovanni decides to start writing his memoirs just as the mob starts to close in on the Manzonis.

Is it any good?


Here's the viewing trajectory for THE FAMILY: It starts briskly and violently, and knowing that Luc Besson is at the helm, you get ready for a bracing yarn. (Plus, it's tons of fun to see Pfeiffer married to the mob again.) But all too soon, the pacing goes slack. The movie starts to digress, to linger a little too long. You get the urge to check your watch. (There's a little too much about how the kids are doing at school, for instance; it would be better to spend more time with De Niro's compelling Giovanni.)

But then there's another shift after the movie's midpoint. What seems like yet another superficial dramedy about snitching on the Mafia takes on a subtle melancholy; it turns into a meditation on change (or the inability to truly embrace it). The people we leave behind won't let us; the future doesn't seem half as much fun. And when the body count piles up in the end, you're definitely no longer in a stupor, lamenting the film's meandering ways. By then, it's all come to a focus -- and sharp one at that.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about The Family's violence. Is it all necessary to the story, or does any of it seem excessive? Would its impact be different if the movie's tone was more serious?

  • What does this movie contribute to the mob-movie genre? Does it stray from it? If so, how?

  • Are any of the characters intended to be role models?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 13, 2013
DVD release date:December 17, 2013
Cast:Dianna Agron, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro
Director:Luc Besson
Studio:Relativity Media
Run time:111 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:violence, language and brief sexuality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byParent Sense September 15, 2013

Don't waste your money!

This is the bottom of the list of movies ever seen!. Extremely violent, girls gives up virginity easy and then wants to commits suicide, brother is a criminal, and the entire family is violent beyond words. Makes no sense either!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent Written byDan G. September 15, 2013

Not for children of ANY age

There is too much seriously objectionable material in this film to be seen by children. The violence against others is serious and bloody. There is graphic sexual activity between unmarried persons and children; (interestingly, the sex between married persons is less graphic, go figure). Religion is treated as part of the joke, the language is about as bad as it gets in a movie, and there is profanity. Take your children to see this R- Rated movie only if you don't love them.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 16 years old Written byB-KMastah September 17, 2013

About 112 minutes too long.

The first half was the most mediocre thing that I've ever experienced in my life. There were no highs and no lows; it just existed. Then it suddenly became just a low. A boring low with bad writing. The ENTIRE movie is made up of subplots that don't work. It tries to be funny and sometimes sexy or thrilling, and does nothing but just fails over and over instead. There's no good timing nor is there good characterization. One moment Dianna Agron is beating up teenage boys because she doesn't need a man, and then she later attempts suicide because she can't have a relationship with her math teacher (and that subplot was just gross). The tone shifts like crazy and just becomes more and more inconsistent throughout. I saw this on a Tuesday and it wasn't even good enough to be a sufficient weekday matinee. I started individually counting each seat in the theater to entertain myself. That's a serious problem. 3.6/10, awful, two thumbs down, far below average, etc.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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