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Mabel, a wife and mother, is loved by her husband Nick but her madness proves to be a problem in the marriage. The film transpires to a positive role of madness in the family, challenging conventional representations of madness in cinema.
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Mild mannered Jack Dawn has been secretly working as an accountant for the mob. He, his Puerto Rican wife Jeri, his teen-aged daughter Joan and his mother-in-law, all who were planning on going on the run, are murdered by the mob because Jack was going to inform on them to the FBI. Before they're killed, Jack and Jeri are able to send their six-year old son Phil to Jeri's friend and their neighbor, Gloria Swenson, for safe keeping. Also with Phil is the book which contains all the information Jack was going to turn over. Gloria and Phil have an antagonistic relationship, not so much for who they are but what they are, Phil a kid, and Gloria a strange white woman who hates kids. As an ex-mistress of a mobster, Gloria learns that the people that killed the Dawns are old friends of hers. As Gloria and Phil go on the run both from the mob and from the authorities (who believe she kidnapped Phil) throughout New York City, Gloria has to come up with a plan on how best to save themselves, ... Written by
I was favorably impressed; certainly outdoes -Leon-
Tastes may vary on this one, but there's much about this film that's endearing to viewers. It strikes you that the story isn't exactly the only of its kind (I see it as a precursor to -Leon- and probably takes cues from the delightful -Paper Moon-, but others of its "kind" are hard to think of), but it's about as well-done as you might expect. Some may not care for the Cassavetes stylistic touches, but here they are not especially intrusive. Gloria's a tough and likeable "bitch" with a moral compass, rightfully the center of the story. It outdoes -Leon- by not investing too much script capital in "developing" the child character. (It was primarily that aspect of -Leon- that annoyed me most.) This is straightforward, without the frills and gimmicks, emotional or otherwise. I do plan on watching the recent version with Sharon Stone, but don't expect to be as satisfied as with this.
I'd give it a minimum of 7/10 on my own, tough scale. I am surprised this is so little-known compared to -Leon-.
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