December 22, 2012 Film Reviews

Some families are time bombs on the verge of detonation. Take the Rizzos of City Island. Father and patriarch Vince (Andy Garcia) is a tough-talking Corrections Officer who spends his free time covertly pursuing acting classes.

His dissatisfied and jaded wife (Julianna Margulies) is a concerned mother with a niggling nicotine habit. They have two children:  son Vince Jr. (Ezra Miller) is an impudent, smart-ass, adolescent with a fetish for feeding corpulent women fine cuisine; daughter Vivian (Dominik García-Lorido), on the other hand, is a street-smart college student who has turned to stripping to pay her dues.

If this isn’t enough to tip this dysfunctional family over the edge, a recently released ex-con, Tony (Steven Strait), is invited into their lives – and their home – without having any clear idea why. Secrets. Deceptions. Suppressed aspirations. Dormant desires. Every family has them. And in writer/director Raymond De Felitta’s City Island, their debilitating, destructive and perversely hilarious repercussions are brought to bear on this working class Italian American family living in a rustic, small-knit fishing community in the Bronx.

In this feisty and ferocious Independent black comedy, the past always chases, creeps up and crashes down on people when they least expect it, unleashing, like Pandora’s cursed Box, devastating havoc as well as threads of new hope.

Navigating a bittersweet terrain charted by Mike Leigh’s sensational Secrets and Lies (1996), City Island shows how the hardest thing in the world, sometimes, is sharing our deepest, most intimate truths with those closest to us.

– Dr. Varga Hosseini