Henry’s marriage to Karen was rife with extramarital affairs. Janice Rossi (Gina Mastrogiacomo) became his longtime girlfriend some time after he married Karen, and the couple often visited Copacabana together on Friday nights. Henry, Jimmy and Tommy were no strangers to cheating on their partners, but Henry’s infidelities are more painful to watch on screen as the film puts the audience close to him as the consequences of his actions unfold violently.
When Henry wakes up in his bed one morning, Karen is standing over him, pointing a revolver at his face. She found out about Janice and wants to get revenge on him for his deceit. While this is an inspirational moment for Karen, the scene shows just how formidable Henry can be, as he initially speaks to Karen in a calm, gentle tone. But when he takes her finger off the trigger, the switch flips and he goes on a rampage against her. Violence was often the solution in Henry’s life of crime, and often that solution seeped into his marriage.
At the beginning of their relationship, when he beat her neighbor with the butt of a gun and asked her to get rid of the gun, she said: “I know there are women like my best friends who would leave as soon as their boyfriend gave them a gun to hide. But I didn’t.” From the start, Karen thought of herself as someone who could handle life – her confrontation with him was a key turning point and an admission that things had gone too far.
If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic violence, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. You can also find additional information, resources and support at their website.
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