As miniseries go, the based-on-fact “Love, Honor and Obey: The Last Mafia Marriage” comes out of the gate fast and strong, paced by the Coppola-esque look and feel of a genuine Sicilian crime family. Telepic will have its toughest time keeping viewers on the second night, when the family part of this mob movie takes over; it will be a test of how viewers accept a love story consuming a mob movie.
Bill Bonanno (Eric Roberts) and Rosalie Profaci (Nancy McKeon), wed in what CBS touts as the last arranged Mafia marriage, have different views about the families’ businesses.
Cloistered in a nunnery during her childhood, Rosalie is naivete personified, a woman consumed by religious teaching. Bill is all too aware of his father’s “business,” but in this time of mob peace, he pursues a law degree in Arizona, with new wife Rosalie in tow.
But the mob is having its first tastes of drug dealing, something Godfather Joe Bonanno (Ben Gazzara) will have nothing to do with, a decision that unleashes a mob war in Gotham.
Bill, the son who was supposed to stay out of “the business,” returns when bullets start to fly. Production keeps the violence under control, but mob action is the strong suit in this mini that’s theoretically about the unbelievable trials one woman endures to keep her impossible marriage intact.
Former “Facts of Lifer” McKeon sheds her girlish image; she’s now an adult and her acting has matured. Roberts holds the screen and keeps the telepic from drifting, with his constant intensity making even his tender moments fresh. Supporting cast is thin, with the exceptions of heavyweight Gazzara and an unpretentious Alex Rocco as Uncle Frank.
Production designer Penny Hadfield’s period scene-setting is true down to the hubcaps, and May Routh’s costumes evolve with the times and offer a dazzling look at middle-American fashion from the 1950s.