This movie is actually based on a real family, the Burt family of Pawtucket, Rhodie Island, who was led by their beloved mother, Frances Burt. "Family Sins" is the story of Frances Burt, who was a mother to many of her own children and a foster mother to several more. She was unspeakably cruel and abusive to her children -- mentally and emotionally tormenting them, but also physically abusive and violent with them. She beat them and harmed them physically in many other ways, forcing them to commit crimes for her. Younger ones were forced to shoplift items for her, and the older children were then groomed to carry out more sinister crimes as they grew, including arson, racketeering, and fraud.
Their family kidnapped a disabled woman and kept her prisoner in their home, cashing her Social Security checks, raping her repeatedly, and forcing her live as a servant.
Frances Burt was eventually tried and convicted in 1994 of kidnapping, welfare fraud, disability fraud, extortion, sexual assault, and kidnapping. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison, though after serving 11 years, Burt was released in June of 2001. She is currently on probation.
Although this movie is entertaining, it also serves as a reminder that even people who seem the most perfect and "together" on the surface may be hiding their own dark secrets. You can never judge a book by its cover!