Best Movies of All Time + [Steven Strait]

CITY ISLAND

CITY ISLAND-13

You can watch the trailer here

Catharsis can be a wonderful thing.

City Island is a 2010 dramatic comedy directed by Raymond De Felitta that takes place in a small fishing village in the Bronx called - get ready for it - City Island. However, that takes a bit of a back seat to the Rizzo family on whom the story truly centers. The family is a powder keg ready to explode, with each member holding their own secrets deep within themselves. Vince (Andy Garcia) is a correctional officer and wannabe actor who meets his long-forgotten son Tony (Steven Strait) when he is transferred into his prison. He decides to take him home without telling him, or anyone else, the truth of his past. We meet his wife Joyce (Julianna Margulies) whose suspicions in all of Vince's activities leave her wanting more from the marriage; his daughter Vivian (Dominik García-Lorido) who lost her scholarship at school and now works as a stripper; and his other son Vince Jr. (Ezra Miller) who has a secret obsession with overweight women. Mind you - no one else knows any of these secrets; however, as time continues to pass and tensions begin to flare, each secret begins to come into the limelight.

The story takes a little while to get going, but once it picks up, it never slows down. In the first half hour, I debated whether I should give up on the film because I wasn't finding this supposed comedy to be funny in the slightest. However, it took some clever dialogue and brilliant delivery from Miller to keep me hooked, and I'm so glad that I stuck with it. As more and more lies begin to pile on top of this family, the comedy starts to seep through as the audience starts to know more than the characters. We can laugh in anticipation of the imminent explosion of truth into this body of lies. And the final cathartic moment is truly glorious to behold. It's both touching and hilarious, which isn't the easiest thing to pull off, but City Island strikes gold with its climax.

It goes without saying that I wasn't fond of the acting in the first thirty minutes or so, either. It took Miller's over-the-top sarcasm to give me a character to latch onto, but more was yet to come. Garcia gives a spirited performance that covers nearly every emotional base, and you can tell he had a lot of fun with it. Although he's good throughout the film, two scenes stand out to me as the sellers: his movie audition (I was crying I was laughing so hard) and the film's ending. Two completely different ends of the spectrum, and Oscar-nominee nails them both. To be honest, the entire cast is very, very good and, more importantly, believable. It should also be mentioned that Emily Mortimer and Academy Award-winner Alan Arkin also provide stellar supporting roles.

So please watch City Island. Like I said earlier, it takes a little bit to get going, but once it does, it never stops. It's a fun little movie with a lot of heart, and it definitely deserves a chance.

Movie Review Summary:
Grade: A-
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