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 Tony Nardella (Steven Strait) brought home by Vince (Andy Garcia), the patriarch of the family, who is a corrections officer in real life, and a hopeful actor in private. Directed and written by Raymond De Felitta (The Thing About My Folks).
Rating: 8 out of 10
Everyone has a secret. Every family has things they don’t want each other to know. In the case of the Rizzo family, the central characters of “City Island,” they’re withholding some whoppers.
The core of this movie is a family dromedy, there are real moments of humor that are straight out of the lives of our family and friends. And there are dramatic moments that are funny but touching. I give De Felitta a great deal of credit for creating a very original script with people and scenarios that are both real and absurd, but never silly, and a fresh backdrop, the Bronx fishing village of City Island. There are few movies out there that are honest and funny, touching and very entertaining. You believe these characters exist.
Andy Garcia, as Vince, and Julianna Margulies, as Joyce, bookend the family as a husband and wife who are at odds as their relationship has drifted. Vince is a corrections officer who finds his estranged son Tony, whose he’s never met, in prison. He takes him into his home, without telling his wife, and we see much of the movie through Tony’s eyes. Tony sees each of their secrets — Vince is studying to become an actor, the daughter dropped out of college and is stripping, the son has a fetish for obese woman, and they all smoke. As the movie unfolds, so do the lies.
De Felitta weaves a charming script around a sharp cast and an interesting backdrop of City Island.