City Island (2010)

Is this how all Italian families from the Bronx are like?

When he recognizes his son, Tony (Steven Strait), whom he hasn’t seen in more than 20 years, among a crop of new inmates in the jail where he works, Vince Rizzo (Andy Garcia) decides to bring the troubled young man home with him, much to the surprise of his wife and kids.

I love little moves that I get totally surprised by. Looking at the poster to the right, you would expect a film about a crazy mob family, mainly because it stars Andy Garcia. However, it’s something different, but in a good way.

The screenplay has some nice little easy touches here. The film touches on a lot of problems that family’s have with each other such as lust, lying, infidelity, you know all the good stuff that all family’s love to chat about. There’s enough comedy inherent in the story that it rolls along quite lightly as well (when a kid is watching food porn you know no-one’s going to die of cancer).

My problem with this film was that the secrets that this family has to hide from each other, aren’t really that interesting, and you can kind of tell what’s going to happen once the secrets got out. Also, the scenes with Emily Mortimer here were also the weaker ones in my opinion, and took out some of the wit that this film was going for.

It’s a shame that Andy Garcia hasn’t been in anything actually good as of lately, but he does do a good job with this material actually. He’s the leader of the family, Vince, as well as this movie, and you can’t help but enjoy the goofiness that he has. Julianna Margulies as always is good as Garcia’s wife, Joyce, who never lets up with that attitude she always gives so well. Steven Strait was also surprisingly good here, giving a lot more depth to his character, and taking his shirt off plenty of times for the ladies in the crowd. Also, Alan Arkin does his usual job of showing up for about 5 minutes, and having us laugh the whole time.

Consensus: City Island has a lot of heart, warmth, and comedy to make this nice little slice of life work, but it won’t challenge you, and may have you wanting a bit more.



  1. Man this was an unexpected hit for me. Maybe because I grew up in this kind of environment but I loved this. Little goofy and had a good heart, this was aces in my book. Rental yes but if you can relate to the characters (yup, I’m Italian and from New York) upgrade this to a 9/10. Great review:)

  2. Agree with everything above dude. Really enjoyed this, and in the UK it’s just came out of nowhere on DVD. Knew Garcia could be a good actor but this was off the hook for him.

    I enjoyed this way more than Little Miss Sunshine!

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