City Island (2009)

PG-13   |    |  Comedy, Drama


City Island (2009) Poster

The Rizzos, a family who doesn't share their habits, aspirations, and careers with one another, find their delicate web of lies disturbed by the arrival of a young ex-con (Strait) brought ... See full summary »


7.4/10
29,733

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  • Andy Garcia and Emily Mortimer in City Island (2009)
  • Andy Garcia and Emily Mortimer in City Island (2009)
  • Alan Arkin in City Island (2009)
  • Andy Garcia and Emily Mortimer in City Island (2009)
  • Dominik Garcia in City Island (2009)
  • Julianna Margulies and Steven Strait in City Island (2009)

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27 March 2010 | davdecrane
9
| Name a better film for the first quarter of 2010
Plotted somewhat like a farce but as emotionally resonate as the best comedy-dramas, City Island is most aptly described, simply and literally, as wonderful. The cast is unfailingly strong with producer Andy Garcia giving himself the meatiest role – to great effect. A few too many "dems" and "dose" may lace his New York accent but he is funny, sincere, frustrated and perseverant in a wide panoply of scenes with actors who have either been TV-type cast (Juliana Margulies), indie-film type cast (Emily Mortimer) or not yet had a real chance to really strut their stuff (Steven Straight, Dominik Garcia-Lorido, and a promising Ezra Miller). Alan Arkin pops in with his usual world-weary Weltanshauung but it plays wonderfully here.

Still, you can see good acting in a number of films (though not an ensemble as strong as this). What separates City Island from the comedy-drama mainland is a story that is both fantastical and yet credible. The premise of what befalls this particular prison guard is a little over-the-top, as are the nonstop (funny) family feuds, but it all feels real. The story detours into little tide pools of drama for each character and here, too, every subplot provides laughs – and it all comes together in a tsunami of comedy at the end, true to its farcical roots. But there's a surprisingly strong current of emotion too in a finale that argues secrets are probably best revealed when you feel least safe in doing so.

The best film I've seen to date this year.

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