Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter aired on Lifetime on Saturday, February 9, 2019. The movie gave viewers a look into what it was like being the daughter of mobster John Gotti. It starred Chelsea Frei as Victoria Gotti and General Hospital’s Maurice Benard (Sonny) as John Gotti. Victoria Gotti served as Executive Producer and provided narration throughout the film.
I watched Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter and wanted to provide a review of the film.
When it was announced that Lifetime would be premiering a movie about Victoria Gotti and her life as the daughter of mobster John Gotti and that General Hospital’s Maurice Benard had been cast as John, I was intrigued and knew I’d watch. As a fan of Benard for 30 years, I knew the depth of his acting talent and felt he could expertly bring the mobster to life onscreen. Maurice Benard has spent the last 25 years playing Michael “Sonny” Corinthos Jr. on ABC’s General Hospital, a mob kingpin with an overwhelming love and commitment to his family not unlike Gotti himself.
Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, I was very familiar with the history of the Five Families and John Gotti. I remember watching numerous new reports at the time as events unfolded in Gotti’s life.
Victoria Gotti’s active participation in the movie gave it a realism that may have otherwise lacked. I admit having her serve as narrator distracted me at first as the play by play commentary of the scenes as they aired gave it a documentary quality. But as the movie progressed, I realized this worked and was the right choice creatively. Victoria’s first person account and feelings expressed lend to it being her life and story. It wasn’t a fictional mob story; she lived it. Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter touched on her strong emotion for her father John and the pain she suffered over the death of her brother Frankie and other heartbreaking memories.
The movie gave us a closer look into a daughter’s devotion to her father and that father’s untying love for his children.
“My father was a throwback. He believed in the family that was his blood family” – Victoria (Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter). John Gotti’s loyalty to his mob family came second only to his wife and children.
Maurice Benard captured this aspect of John Gotti. As Gotti, he accepted who he was but wanted something different for his children as portrayed by Benard when John disapproved in Victoria’s relationship with Carmine. “He’s a common street guy. I want better for you.” In the movie, Victoria said about father John: “A lion is still a lion even in a cage.” Maurice Benard was a lion as John Gotti in Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter. We saw him roar and be protective of his cubs.
Chelsea Frei did an amazing job in the movie. Like Benard, she made viewers believe she was Victoria Gotti. The look in her eyes when she played her lines evoked the passion of being a mobster’s daughter. The makeup and hair was flawless…she looked just like Victoria Gotti. I also need to give a shout out to the actress who played Young Victoria, Zoey Siewert. Rhonda Dent (Butch) and Elijah Silva as Carmine helped to round out this well cast production.
The acting and writing in Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter offered viewers a rare glimpse into the life of an American crime family. We saw more than a fight over power and territory. We saw a family’s struggle with normalcy amidst a world of illegal responsibility.
I offer thanks to Victoria Gotti was giving us a look into who the Gotti family is and for sharing with us her family’s story. Special thanks to the casting directors of Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter
Photo Courtesy of Lifetime
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