The Price of Family review – a film about petty cruelty disguised as comedy

By Lori Meek
Published: January 26, 2023 (Last updated: November 30, 2023)


While there are a few amusing scenes, this is a movie about cruel and petty people being awful to each other.

We review the Netflix film The Price of Family, which does not contain spoilers.

Netflix’s Italian comedy by filmmaker Giovanni Bognetti explores what happens when two empty nesters take drastic measures to keep their kids close. The film is a remake of the French comedy The Price of Parenting and features Christian De Sica and Angela Finocchiaro as the aforementioned parents, Carlo and Anna. Dharma Mangia Woods and Claudio Colica play their adult children, Alessandra and Emilio, while Fioretta Mari appears as the family’s all-too-cynical grandmother. 

The Price of Family Review and Plot Summary

Netflix’s The Price of Family starts with the two parents, Carlo and Anna, saying goodbye to both their adult children as they move to the city of Rome, leaving their family home behind. Their daughter, Alessandra is moving in with her dentist boyfriend, Rocco (Francesco Marioni), while the son, Emilio, is off to work in a low-paying office job for a boss he despises. Much to Anna’s despair, after moving out both siblings are spending less and less time with their aging parents. They don’t show up for an aunt’s funeral, make promises to visit they never keep, and even ignore their parent’s phone calls simply because they don’t feel like talking to them. The final straw is when both children decide not to spend Christmas at home. 

Having had enough of being ignored by their progeny, Anna and Carlo claim to have been left a sizable inheritance by the dearly departed Aunt Thea. Strangely enough, the plan works. And as soon as Alessandra and Emilio learn about their parent’s pretend windfall, they both suddenly remember how much they love mom and dad. Of course, now mom and dad have to act (and spend) as though they truly are part of the elite. The plan is to keep the charade going until Christmas, but will Anna and Carlo’s bank accounts survive until then? After all, renting a Ferrari, buying fake designer clothes, and writing checks left right and center can quickly turn into an expensive hobby. 

While I found the concept of this movie interesting, the execution wasn’t. The acting is solid, particularly Christian De Sica’s portrayal of Carlo. However, the way Alessandra and Emilio treat their parents in the first act made me wonder if the two had some deep-seated reason to be this callous. They refer to a deceased aunt as an “old hag.” Alessandra knew her mother was cooking and baking her a birthday cake, promised to attend a family meal, and simply didn’t show up because she had a hangover. She doesn’t even bother to call and make excuses. Emilio, on the other hand, is even worse. He’s supposed to be a gainfully employed adult, yet still asks his mother to clean and iron his clothes. The film tries playing the kid’s rudeness out as a normal part of leaving the nest when there’s nothing normal about their actions. 

The parents aren’t portrayed in a very sympathetic manner either. The first part of the prank involves Anna and Carlo ignoring both their kid’s calls for days while they’re supposedly too busy with their newfound wealth. There’s nothing funny about that level of petty cruelty. While there are a few amusing scenes such as Anna making her daughter pay for their €750 fine dining experience, and Carlo dangling fat checks in front of Emilio only to then claim the money’s going to charity – ultimately, this is a movie about cruel and petty people being awful to each other. By the time we see any type of genuine affection between the members of this dysfunctional family, it’s too little, too late. 

Is the movie The Price of Family good?

The Price of Family tries to be a comedy, but it only succeeded at making me sad. It portrays a dysfunctional family as being as dysfunctional as it can be. Both adult children are callous individuals, while the parents take their pettiness too far. If you’re looking for a feel-good comedy, this isn’t it. 

What did you think of the Netflix film The Price of Family? Comment below.

More Stories

Movie Reviews, Netflix, Streaming Service