I just previewed the movie Mighty Fine starring Chazz Palminteri, Andie MacDowell, Jodelle Ferland, and Rainey Qualley (Andie MacDowell’s own daughter). This movie is R rated for language and brief nudity (some teenage boys skinny dipping in a pool). I want to say up front that I normally don’t view R rated movies, but I was asked to review the movie before I knew it had an R rating. I understand that rough language is part of the world we live in, but I prefer to limit my exposure to it, if I can. I also understand that the movie industry tries to create movies that depict “real-life” and they feel some of the baser things in life are unavoidable. I feel a good script and a skilled director can create the same drama, without extreme language, nudity or violence.
This movie is about the Fine family – a Jewish family from New York, making a move to Louisiana in an attempt to boost the father’s business in the textile industry. The movie is set in 1974. Stella Fine, the mother, is a Polish Holocaust survivor. Joe and Stella met just after the war, and Joe is Stella’s hero! The movie deals with 3 very serious themes about the human condition, and how they affect the family. The father in this family struggles with bouts of anger – after interviewing Chazz Palminteri and Rainey Qualley, they confirmed that he suffers from some mental illness (perhaps BiPolar disorder; although that was not a common diagnosis back then). His family lives in fear of his occasional bursts of anger/rage. Normally, he is happy and does his best to provide a comfortable life for his family. When his business begins to fail, due to changes in the economy and shifting of the textile industry oversees, Joe Fine is distraught and unable to cope with the possible loss of his extravagant lifestyle – which is the 2nd theme of the movie.
Too many families don’t understand the basics of living within their means. The Fine family has fancy cars, private schooling, a too big/fancy home, a boat and all the trappings of a family accustomed to the finer things in life. Joe has the misconception that if he can’t provide these things, he’s a failure. This pressure only adds to his inability to control his anger.
A whole movie could be created of why Stella Fine goes along with her husband, and waits until he is out of control and a danger to himself and his family. After all, she’s already survived the holocaust and knows only too well what it means to be oppressed. But, she is a woman of the ‘70s and doesn’t feel empowered to control her own destiny. She’s allowed Joe to “take care” of her all these years, and the prospect of surviving and caring for her children without the protective umbrella of her husband is just too daunting. As a mother, I’m grateful I live in an age where information and support services are available to help struggling families. We still have the same stresses, but informed and educated parents can do a lot to create a safe environment in the home.
Mighty Fine will be released to a limited number of theaters on May 25, 2012. All the actors did a fine job with such weighty issues. If you feel you could benefit from the motivation of and encouragement of finding a way to end an abusive household, then perhaps you can gain strength from Mighty Fine.
As I mentioned earlier, I was lucky enough to interview Chazz Palminteri and Rainey Qualley, after the online screening. It was such a fun way to chat because we had a live video chat, where we could see Chazz and Rainey, but they couldn’t see us. We were able to type in questions, and watch them answer. Rainey was absolutely adorable, and we found out that she is actually the one singing the song at the end of the movie. Beautiful voice! Chazz was very down to earth, and seemed very comfortable in what may have been his office chair. Chazz seems to be a very loving husband, who is not at all like the role he was playing in Mighty Fine. Both Chazz and Rainey were a delight to chat with. Technology can be such a wonderful thing!
You can “Like” Mighty Fine on facebook, and preview the trailer below:
“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”