Revisiting—or in a few cases, watching for the first time—and celebrating the work of Michelle Pfeiffer, the best actress of my lifetime.
Jonathan Demme's satirical tale of one woman's quest to free herself from her husband's mafia connections, Married to the Mob (1988) is an underrated gem, an absolute joy to watch, and at times riotously funny. Everything about it is subversive and smart, nothing more so than the tremendous lead performance by Michelle Pfeiffer.
Pfeiffer is electric as Angela de Marco, a recently widowed mob wife trying to restart her life and make a clean break from her husband's mobster ties. She uses her best physical asset as an actress—those big, expressive blue eyes, as deep and as mysterious as an ocean—to expose Angela's vulnerabilities early and often. It's in the way she looks sad and adrift in a room full of (crazy) people, or in how a longing glance reveals her interest in a sweet FBI agent, played wonderfully by Matthew Modine. Pardon the cliche, but Pfeiffer's eyes truly are a window into both her soul and the souls of her characters.
The film also allows Pfeiffer to show off her gift for comedy. She's the centerpiece of this madcap romp, with both the mob and law enforcement trying to control her, and she rolls with the film's manic energy with aplomb. She's hilarious here, full of New Yawk toughness and grace under fire, but all the while showing us Angela's tenderness and her very real desire to live a better life. It's a terrific film, full of life and energy, and featuring a beautifully realized and touching performance from Pfeiffer. Both the film and her work in it are worth revisiting and celebrating all over again.