Last week, along with some other bloggers, I had the opportunity to preview the new movie, Mighty Fine, in a private screening from the comforts of my laptop. The film, which covers the delicate subject matter of emotional abuse, premieres in theaters on May 25th.
About the film:
The story of “Mighty Fine” is fictional, but it draws to a great extent on writer/director Debbie Goodstein’s vivid memories of her childhood. “My father had anger issues, ups and downs, and living in his world could be a bit of a rollercoaster ride,” says Goodstein. “He loved his family but had self-destructive impulses and a rage that made life with him unpredictable and sometimes very scary.” Many of Goodstein’s friends also had fathers similar to her own, and she contrived the character of Joe Fine as a composite. Goodstein sees Joe as a creature of his time, someone who couldn’t exist today: “Joe Fine is the king of his castle, like so many men of the seventies. But even then, things were changing rapidly, and men like Joe, with all their bravado and patriarchal dominance, were poised for extinction. Today, with so many women in the workplace, that castle has become more of a stronghold of equanimity.”
While fictionalized, Mighty Fine portrayed a very real family situation. Emotional abuse is very real, and unlike physical abuse there are no bruises so it’s “easier” to hide. At times the film was difficult to watch, not because it personally hit home but because of the reality that similar situations occur everyday in real life.
Set in the 70s in New Orleans, LA, Mighty Fine follows Joe Fine (Chazz Palminteri), a Brooklyn garment manufacturer, as he moves his family closer to the factory that makes his company’s clothing line. His wife Stella (Andie MacDowell), a Holocaust survivor, and younger teenage daughter Natalie (Jodelle Ferland) are excited about the move, but high-school senior Maddie (Rainey Qualley) couldn’t be more annoyed at the idea of starting over in her last year of high school. Joe is an over spender and is covering up that things with his business are not doing so well. What follows is a story of family dysfunctionality and emotional abuse. While the story is not well developed in parts, it’s easy to see the message that the Fine family is just struggling to survive.
The film is at time narrated by voice-over, as an older Natalie and the impression is that the movie is about her. I actually think it’s about her father, Joe and his struggle with both mental illness (something that was even more taboo in the 1970s) and abusive behaviors. Add in the struggles of being in the anti-Semantic South during that time and you can see why there is so much tension.
Mighty Fine is Rated R for language and brief nudity. It will be in select theaters nationwide starting on May 25th.
Disclosure: 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.