WHAT TO SEE: Age-old dramatics of family in business
Andrew Chaney, Jason Collett, Robert Miano, Rich Praytor
Runtime: 94 min.
Distributed by Ignatius Press — www.ignatius.com
Faith-based films often are plagued by low budgets, weak scripts, mediocre acting, and inferior production values, but some deserve praise for having largely overcome these deficiencies. And some are actually rather good.
2018’s Inheritance — not to be confused with the 2017 mystery-horror film of the same name — is a well-intended effort. A drama revolving around an Italian family that is at least nominally Catholic, it packs enough relationship drama into its 94-minute runtime to fuel a daytime soap opera for several seasons.
Giovanni Delvecchio (Robert Miano) is the family patriarch who owns the family diner staffed by his son Frank (Andrew Chaney) and grandson Sonny (Jason Collett). Giovanni deflects shakedowns from the local Mafia types but can’t persuade Frank to end a longstanding feud with his brother Joey (Rich Praytor), a disagreeable lout who never forgave Frank for marrying his ex-girlfriend. When the two break into fisticuffs at Sonny’s wedding rehearsal dinner, Giovanni suffers a heart attack and dies.
Frank and Joey inherit the diner in a 70/30 split, but Frank, who refuses to work with his brother and entertains homicidal thoughts about him, descends into alcoholism. Meanwhile, a deep family secret about Sonny’s cousin Renny is revealed that alters the family dynamics. Sonny tries to help both his father and Renny but soon finds the situation stressing his own nascent marriage. Turning to alcohol himself, Sonny learns the cost of driving impaired, but a life-changing encounter enables him to become an agent for healing some of the strained family relationships.
Despite the Italian Catholic family at its center, it’s not a Catholic film by any means. The only Catholic references reveal a naïve view of sacramental Confession, and the most significant preachy moments are the stuff of generic altar-call Christianity. But Inheritance strives nevertheless to say something positive about faith, family, and forgiveness, and that’s a message the world needs to hear.
GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.