The Good Mothers, true story about Italian mafia wives

Barbara Chichiarelli in The Good Mothers

The Good Mothers, an Italian series, tells a true story about a savvy prosecutor in Calabria, Italy in 2010. She decided to use the abused and mistreated wives and daughters of mafia men to bring down the ‘Ndrangheta mafia.

The Good Mothers has six hour long episodes. The story focuses on the prosecutor, Anna Colace (Barbara Chichiarelli, above), and her team as they work to bring down the mafia in Calibria. There are three main women who get the focus of Anna’s attention and who agree to serve as witnesses against their husbands and fathers.

Gaia Girace in The Good Mothers

Denise Cosco (Gaia Girace) is just about to turn 18. She and her mother, Lea (Micaela Ramazzotti), have been in witness protection for several years. Her mother has taught Denise to think for herself and make her own decisions.

Lea decides to return to her family so Denise can get to know her father, Carlo (Francesco Collega). The minute they return, Denise is turned over to her aunts and her mother disappears. Denise realizes they’ve killed her mother, but doesn’t know how to prove it.

Denise is under the constant watchful eye of Carlo’s man Carmine (Andrea Dodder).

Valentina Bellè in The Good Mothers

Giuseppina Pesce (Valentina Bellè) is the mother of three. She’s actively working for her family. Her husband is in prison and she’s interested in another man, an offense which could get her killed.

Simona Distefano in The Good Mothers

Concetta Cacciola (Simona Distefano), also the mother of three, is Giuseppina’s best friend. She’s basically under house arrest and is beaten by her father if she talks to men. Her husband is also in prison.

Each woman’s story was different. Each had different motives for running or for going back. Yes, they had trouble staying away. The pull of family and the loving promises of abusers were a constant lure for the women.

The title reflects the theme among all the women that they did what they did to protect their children.

The setting was beautiful along the Italian coast. There were lots of drone shots from high above the action giving panoramic views of the scenery. Inside the homes perched on steep hillsides it was anything but scenic. It was grim, dangerous, and full of violent menace.

The storytelling style left gaps, at least for me. It all hung together but in sometimes jerky ways. The women’s fears, loneliness, and courage were captured very well. Their emotional struggles to survive and muster their courage were the strongest parts of the story for me.

The series has excellent ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb, but I wasn’t as enthusiastic about the quality. I gave it a more middle of the road rating.

Half of the episodes were directed by Elisa Amoruso.

The series is available on Disney+ and Hulu. You can see the trailer on YouTube.

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