Toni Collette and Eduardo Scarpetta in "Mafia Mamma"
Toni Collette and Eduardo Scarpetta in "Mafia Mamma"

MAFIA MAMMA Review: Toni Collette Can Do It All!

Disclaimer: This Mafia Mamma review contains plot spoilers.

Mafia Mamma, the latest Catherine Hardwicke film, sees Kristin (Toni Collette) travelling to Italy and experiencing a life-affirming adventure. Bianca (Monica Bellucci) is the unconventional fairy godmother figure who calls Kristin to inform her she must fly to Italy for Kristin’s grandfather’s funeral. What Kristin doesn’t learn until after she arrives is that her father was a mafia don whose final wish was for her to take over the family business.

If you haven’t watched Mafia Mamma yet, watch my spoiler-free review here:

The appeal of Mafia Mamma largely stems from the the nostalgic feeling of watching a well-rounded mid-budget comedy with an entertaining ensemble. Although any will be drawn to the film because of Toni Collette’s power as a performer, the film’s merits reach beyond just her acting ability.

For one, the self-empowering message can speak to an audience of varying ages and background who may feel trapped and unsatisfied by their own life circumstances. Be it romantic woes, career dissatisfaction, or a general restlessness from lack of travelling and adventure, Kristin’s starting point is relatable.

Toni Collette and Monica Bellucci

One of the most refreshing surprises is Toni Collette’s ability to perform physical comedy. Whether she’s battling a hitman while on a Zoom call with her bosses or playing dead after accidentally killing a rival mafia don, her physicality is hilarious.

Each member of the ensemble brings their own unique comedic contribution to the overall show. Monica Bellucci might not be the first name one thinks of when casting a comedy but her deadpan delivery plays perfectly against Toni Collette’s fish-out-of-water energy in Italy.

Monica Bellucci and Toni Collette

Though the film is a comedy, Mafia Mamma also has serious dramatic stakes. Being dropped into the middle of a mob feud is bound to lead to some danger. Catherine Hardwicke directs action very well. Anyone that’s seen the Twilight baseball scene will know she can put together a well-choreographed sequences.

Despite the abundance of comedy, it never comes at the cost of the dramatic weight. The film earns every bit of catharsis, as Kristin must fight physically and emotionally to break through the obstacles to her happiness.

Toni Collette and Catherine Hardwicke have worked together seamlessly to bring back the type of joyous romp we used to have in abundance pre-Y2K. I have a nagging sense that the bubble of the hundred-million-dollar franchise blockbusters is on the verge of a recession. It would be a welcome change of pace to see the well-rounded, feel-good, mid-budget films rise to prominence once again.

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