Monday, September 13, 2010

Under 250: City Island

City Island is one of my favorite movies of the year, a bright comedy of errors that feels like it’s been plucked directly from the golden age of Woody Allen, a homage to relationships and New York without anything too fanciful. Watching it is like being back in the bosom of your own family, tucked in safe and warm at a big noisy dinner table. That’s not to say that this is a story about a solid family. Instead, it’s focused on the very strained one of Vincent (Andy Garcia) and Joyce Rizzo (Juliana Margulies) who’ve spent their entire lives living on City Island in New York. Married and pregnant young, neither Vince nor Joyce ever had the time to discover themselves, each making sacrifices for their two, now teenage children, one secretly a stripper that was kicked out of school (Garcia's real life daughter), the other failing high school and obsessed with a neighbor. When Vince’s son from a pre-marriage summer fling with another woman turns up in the prison where he's a guard, and the secrets of each family member get revealed, things get very funny, very dysfunctional, and very heartfelt. Add in a secret life of acting classes for Vince and Emily Mortimer as Vince’s sidekick and you get an enjoyable, unique ride worthy of an Oscar for the film and the perfect Andy Garcia, and all the immense praise it’s received over the last year.

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