Before our move, DH and I got a sneak preview of the movie “Mighty Fine.” Even though I’m all for light and funny movies, I could identify with the issues the family faced in this serious drama. It is a movie that follows a New York Jewish family to New Orleans, where we see how a family struggles to cope with a father’s anger. Chazz Palminteri (“Usual Suspects”) plays Joe, a man whose struggles in business and whose hopes, dreams, and love for his family fuel his rage and strain his relationships with his wife and two daughters. His wife Stella (played by Andie MacDowell, who was in the great film “Groundhog Day”), a Holocaust survivor, plays the peacemaker. Standing in her way is Joe and Stella’s older daughter, Maddie (played by MacDowell’s real-life daughter, Rainey Qualley), who rebels against her father and challenges his version of the family–the man is the boss. As a former teen-lady, I could definitely identify with Maddie.
The younger daughter, Natalie, is a quiet girl whose talents often get drowned out by the tension in the household. DH and I grew to like this character because she searches for meaning by writing a poem for a school contest. Jodelle Ferland does a fine, convincing job playing Natalie. She shows how sometimes all children can do to cope with a controlling parent is quietly search for resolve and understanding.
In fact, all the actors do a great job in a movie that sketches a familiar, yet powerful picture of a traditional family. Can Joe learn how to handle his stress without lashing out at those he loves? Can the daughters learn how to cope with Joe’s volatile moods? How do families stick together when a father or a daughter (or a mother or a son) make stress, not love, the norm?
This is a simple, poignant movie that appeals to any of us who grew up in or find themselves in homes that, on the one hand, feel too stormy, and on the other hand, still have the potential to be places of love, peace, and support.
It’s worth a watch. It premieres in select theaters on May 25. Check here to see where it is playing in your area.
I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Mighty Fine and the distributor. I received access to an online showing of the film and a promotional item to thank me for participating.