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The Family (2013)



Average Rating: 4.6/10
Reviews Counted: 124
Fresh: 36 | Rotten: 88

Luc Besson's The Family suffers from an overly familiar setup and a number of jarring tonal shifts.


Average Rating: 5/10
Critic Reviews: 24
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 17

Luc Besson's The Family suffers from an overly familiar setup and a number of jarring tonal shifts.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 46,897

My Rating

Movie Info

In the off-beat action comedy "The Family," a mafia boss and his family are relocated to a sleepy town in France under the witness protection program after snitching on the mob. Despite the best efforts of Agent Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones) to keep them in line, Fred Manzoni (Robert DeNiro), his wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and their children Belle (Dianna Agron) and Warren (John D'Leo) can't help but revert to old habits and blow their cover by handling their problems the "family" way,

Dec 17, 2013


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All Critics (124) | Top Critics (24) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (88)

This is a deliberately off-kilter, cheerfully violent, hit-and-miss effort with just enough moments of inspiration to warrant a recommendation.

September 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A movie with a PG brain and a NC-17 body count, unsuitable for audiences of any age.

September 13, 2013 Full Review Source: The Atlantic
The Atlantic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A black comedy that doesn't begin to jell but has a sweetheart of a cast and the odd diverting moment.

September 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The casting of Robert De Niro as an ex-Mafioso hiding in witness protection is witty in only the silliest, most superficial way. It's a joke with its own tinny, built-in laugh track.

September 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Family is a film at once strange and intriguing. It can't seem to settle on a tone.

September 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film isn't worthy of De Niro's stature, in the gangster sub-genre or otherwise.

September 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Could've been an inoffensive enough 90 minute feature, but the film insists on garbling the narrative with useless subplots that...bloat the movie beyond the breaking point.

February 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

It rattles along at a slick pace and the closing sequence is everything you could want from a closing crescendo.

January 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Fan The Fire
Fan The Fire

American family, presumed obnoxious by French villagers, deals with problems by being obnoxiously, smugly violent. The daughter, when not beating people up, is a moist-eyed virgin eroticized by the camera, all her romantic aspirations cringingly mawkish.

December 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

As lifeless and dull as any of the characters whacked during this dramedy's bloated running time.

December 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Big Hollywood
Big Hollywood

Unfortunately, The Family suffers from an extreme case of advanced tonal disorder.

November 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Irish Times
Irish Times

Every time Luc Besson uses a bullet in a body as a punchline, a real joke somewhere out in the wild dies.

November 24, 2013 Full Review Source:

It's throwaway stuff, packed with corny gags about rich French cooking and annoying Gallic manners, in which light relief is offered by the sight of our hero torturing a plumber; think The Whole Nine Yards with cheese.

November 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Clearly, De Niro is happy to cannibalise his glorious past, but for those of us who love him, it's like sucking on old bones.

November 22, 2013 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Their fish-out-of-water antics leave a nasty taste in the mouth rather than a smile on the face.

November 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

Besson has made a career out of a willingness to experiment but The Family's tonal variations jar.

November 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post

It's horribly violent, the family are appalling, it's never believable and far too long.

November 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

The collateral damage involving innocent bystanders is staggering. Just mind you don't get caught in the crossfire.

November 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

There was a time when De Niro seemed so ungraspable, so brilliant, it was as if he had some secret access to acting that nobody else could fully understand. Maybe in the end we asked too much of him.

November 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

A disgraced mob family are sent on a Euro vacation in this weak wiseguy satire with Robert De Niro.

November 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

An unimaginative and humourless dark comedy from French director Luc Besson, starring Robert De Niro who appears to be phoning his lines in.

November 21, 2013 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

Besson strikes a jarring tone between crime and comedy; a soundtrack of irritatingly 'wacky' accordion music prescribes a comic mood rarely met by laughter.

November 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

It makes you want to revisit Goodfellas, though.

November 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

A lively premise and darkly humorous tone give way to predictable action and a dull finale.

November 21, 2013 Full Review Source: The List
The List

Despite a promising trailer and a great cast, this French-American comedy-thriller is a complete misfire because Luc Besson seems unclear about how to create a black comedy.

November 21, 2013 Full Review Source:

[Besson] doesn't really find the right tone to hold all this together, but there's a certain frisson in watching De Niro's short-fused Giovanni explode... and you just know there's going to be an opportunity for Besson to go ballistic, too.

November 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

Audience Reviews for The Family

For a movie with stars like Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones in it, then "The Family" didn't really live up to all that it could have been.
That being said, then I am not saying that this is a bad movie. I am merely saying that director Luc Besson didn't really fully cash in on the potential of the script and the talents of the actors and actresses. And as such, then the movie turned out to be watchable, albeit not overly memorable.
The story is about a family running from the mafia, hiding away in Normandy, where they try to blend in and trying to pass as a foreign family living abroad. However, their past is right on their heels and soon catches up.
The characters in the movie were good and well-detailed. And they were equally well portrayed by the actors and actresses, and especially Robert De Niro was doing a great job in carrying the movie on his shoulders.
"The Family" is the type of movie that you watch once, and then most likely never again. It just doesn't have enough leverage or material to sustain a second watching. 3 Stars 1-1514
January 21, 2014
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

This is a Luc Besson film so you know right from the off there's gonna be a slick gun fight somewhere in here. Question is does this story require such a style from the action director?. This is a slow paced story about mobsters, an adaptation of a novel called Badfellas which kinda spells it out for you really doesn't it.

The plot is easy, De Niro and his family are in the witness protection program to try and start a new life whilst evading the mafioso who are trying to kill them. The reason? because De Niro (an ex-crime boss) insulted a rival mafia boss and then snitched on him after a failed hit attempt.

What follows is a black comedy about this violent crime addicted family that are trying to blend into a small French town out in the countryside. De Niro is the ex-mafia boss who gets angry very easily and likes to inflict pain on people who deserve it. Pfeiffer is his wife and she too is a slightly unhinged woman who won't hesitate to resort to violence when upset. Then there are their two kids, one teenage girl who like her mother will beat the shit outta anyone who upsets her. And one teenage boy who is quite clever, influential, sly, manipulative and with skills in fraud...but he can still be violent if needs be.

In short this family is kinda like the mafia version of The Addams Family. On the surface they all appear normal but underneath they are all violent, trigger happy, aggressive, untrustworthy lifestyle mobsters that will snap and go berserk very easily. The only difference is they try to keep that darker side under control and under wraps.

I guess this film is amusing in places but its awkward at the same time. There are moments which are sorta funny but then there are moments that are pretty nasty and you don't know what to think. Yes its not suppose to be a serious mafia flick but the violence is pretty serious and doesn't stray to far from old De Niro films like 'Goodfellas' or 'Casino'. Seeing the sexy young blonde daughter beat a nerdy French kid half to death, or other girls, is kinda hot but also kinda disturbing haha. At the same time De Niro gets up to his old movie tricks by beating guys to a pulp with a baseball bat or dragging them along the tarmac behind his car, tied at the ankles by rope that is. The violence is quite graphic at times.

So really its every old mafia movie cliche rolled out once again. The fact they cast De Niro in the lead role really makes it even worse because he's done this stuff so many times it not really very entertaining anymore. Add to that your stereotypical looking cast of scrawny old mafia bosses accompanied by big fat henchmen and short squat balding hitmen. Exactly the type of characters you'd expect to see in a film like this, its been done!.

The big main angle of this black comedy is seeing this hardened New York mafia family trying to fit in with the soft cultured cheese eating French locals, that's it, there is nothing more. Problem is we can't care about any of them because they come across as merciless psychos. The finale is the predicted flashy Besson shootout which does excite somewhat but it too is over pretty fast. Where are all the residents of this town when all the gunfire and explosions kick off?? you'd think someone would get more police. Its also pretty stupid that the badguys kill all the local police/emergency services and a few residents, that won't gain much attention will it geez!.

There is just nothing to keep you interested here because its been done about a squillion times before, it couldn't be anymore repetitive and unoriginal. I think the only cliche they left out was casting Joe Pesci.
December 26, 2013

Super Reviewer

three stars
December 19, 2013
MisterYoda ?

Super Reviewer

The first time I saw a trailer for this I literally rolled my eyes and said "this looks like crap". Turns out it's not as crappy as I thought. It's actually a lot of fun. Robert DiNiro stars as a Fred, a mafia boss who takes his family into the witness protection program and hide out in France from the mob. There they try to live normal lives, but being a Mafia family nothing is normal. The kids begin to "run" the school, the mom(Michelle Pfeiffer) blows up a grocery store, and Fred beats up a plumber. Then, the men who are after them find out their location and come after them. I have to admit, I thought it was pretty funny and enjoyed it much more than I thought. This could have been a lot more "slap-sticky" then what it was, and I'm glad it wasn't. It was kind of a straight comedy, where this family wasn't caricatures so much as just characters. A scene where DeNiro watches "Goodfellas" is pretty great. I'm sure a lot of people will think it's dumb and not good, and I can see why. But late on a Friday night, it's exactly what you want, a mindless entertaining comedy. Good for a watch or two.
December 16, 2013
Everett Johnson

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Malavita - The Family (DE)
  • The Family (UK)
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