The instant we meet Angela de Marco we know that she doesn't fit in this world. She looks the part of a mob wife with her big hair and hoop earrings, but there is a look in her eyes that tells us she wants more. She is distracted. She is somewhere else. She isn't like all the other catty broads in this beauty salon.
There were a lot of movies like this in the 80's about trying to break out of the conformity. Usually it's a story about leaving behind square, yuppie suburbia for something more exciting. Jonathan Demme even made one of these films two years prior with the masterful Something Wild. But what makes this film stand out from the pack is the decision to substitute Reagan's America with the world of organized crime. It makes Angela's urge to flee a bit more understandable to the average viewer. It also makes a nice parallel between the Reagan Administration and gangsters. Bonus points for having a female protagonist. It's sort of odd that this is the film that preceded The Silence of the Lambs, but it also makes sense.