||Writer-director John Cassavetes presents one of his most touching motion pictures with this story of the unlikely bond between a cynical New Yorker and a young boy. Gloria (Gena Rowlands), the quintessential "tough-talkin' dame"--complete with time in prison and ties to the mob--has put those days behind her, now living a quiet, solitary life. That changes when the Mafia marks her neighbors for death and Gloria is asked to care for their young son, Phil (John Adames). She reluctantly agrees, but because the boy knows incriminating information, they must immediately go into hiding, which takes them on a journey through New York City and ends up sparking a mother-son bond that neither could have ever expected. Cassavetes creates an empowering female role with Gloria, and Rowlands (his real-life wife) runs with it, making her transformation from bitter ex-criminal to overprotective, yet still tough, mother figure seem honest and believable. It is this budding maternal relationship that gives the film a sweetness even amid the gun smoke.