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Review: Maurice Benard superb in 'Victoria Gotti: My Father's Daughter' Special

Posted Feb 10, 2019 by Markos Papadatos
Emmy award-winning actor Maurice Benard starred as mob boss John Gotti (of the Gambino crime family) in the Lifetime film "Victoria Gotti: My Father's Daughter."
Maurice Benard
Maurice Benard
ABC, Craig Sjodin
This original movie aired on Lifetime on Friday, February 9. Aside from Benard in the leading role as Gotti, actress Chelsea Frei played Victoria Gotti, who was his daughter; moreover, Victoria Gotti served as the narrator, co-writer, and the executive producer of this documentary project. This Lifetime movie is based on Victoria Gotti's s book This Family of Mine: What It Was Like Growing Up Gotti.
Maurice Benard really delves beyond the surface and is able to show the different facets of Gotti's personality, in a bold and charismatic acting performance. Benard was absolutely transformative in the role and does a great job telling his story, coupled by Victoria's moving narration.
With all of the glitz and glamour that comes with being the daughter of a mob boss, came hardships and challenges. In this film, Victoria shared some raw and intimate stories about her upbringing, especially being a shy person in her youth.
One of the most compelling scenes was Victoria's conversation with her father in the prison towards the end when she is looking at him through the glass and talking to him via the prison phone. That is when he inspired her to "do him a favor" and write a book about his life. "I will keep that in mind," Frei said about the book idea, as Victoria Gotti. "I really miss you dad. I always admired your strength through all the hard times," she added. In that scene, Benard's response was perfect: "strength comes from within."
John Gotti died in a prison hospital in Missouri at the age of 61 from throat and neck cancer. If she were to ever write a book about him, he told her that he did not want to be perceived as an "altar boy," and she stayed true to that promise.
Benard was the perfect fit for the role of John Gotti since he is known for his portrayal of mob boss Sonny Corinthos on General Hospital, which exceeds 25 years.
The Verdict
Overall, Victoria Gotti: My Father's Daughter was a brilliant film on Lifetime. It was superbly written and narrated by Victoria Gotti, where she immersed us into the world of her father. Maurice Benard gave a true tour de force performance, which made the viewer forget that they were watching a movie. Victoria Gotti: My Father's Daughter garnered an A rating.
For more information on Victoria Gotti: My Father's Daughter, check out the official Lifetime website.