City Island


City Island (2010)


Critic Consensus: Raymond De Felitta combines warmth, humanity, and a natural sense of humor, and is abetted by Andy Garcia and an excellent ensemble cast.


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When prison guard and New York family man, Vince Rizzo, sees a familiar name among the new convicts list, he realizes it belongs to a boy who he fathered 20 years earlier but abandoned. Now married with a new family, Vince takes his long-lost son, Tony Nardella, home with him -- not telling his family who Tony really is. This isn't that unusual, as the Rizzo family is filled with secrets from each other. By bringing his long-lost son into the family, and by exploring a platonic extra-marital affair with a fellow acting student, Vince comes to realize that the only way to grow and truly understand love and intimacy is to face the lies he's told about his past and bring his family and loved ones into his future.

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Andy Garcia
as Vince Rizzo
Julianna Margulies
as Joyce Rizzo
Steven Strait
as Tony Nardella
Ezra Miller
as Vinnie Rizzo
Alan Arkin
as Michael Malakov
Emily Mortimer
as Molly Charlesworth
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Critic Reviews for City Island

All Critics (101) | Top Critics (36)

This feature might work better as a television series, but Garcia himself gives the picture some much-needed ballast.

Jul 22, 2010 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Andy Garcia demonstrates real comic chops in this charming comedy of family dysfunction.

Jul 6, 2010

This is the kind of movie that could easily sink into comedy hijinks as broad and flat as pappardelle. But it doesn't. De Felitta... makes no apologies for the outrageousness of the coincidences and gloriously knotty relationships and secrets.

Apr 29, 2010 | Full Review…

Writer-director Raymond De Felitta has cut together a frustrating comedy, with the misunderstandings piling up like kindling for a bonfire that his movie never lights.

Apr 28, 2010 | Rating: 2.5/4

The slice-of-life comedy City Island is a charming throwback filled with authentic characters.

Apr 22, 2010

A funny, heartfelt look at families, relationships and the lies that prop them up as much as tear them down.

Apr 21, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for City Island


Fiery, loud, and funny! Everyone in the Rizzo family harbors secrets: smoking, stripping, stealing. They're hinted at in cute, little montages, and then they explode in a huge, Greek climax that shouldn't work in a creative writing sense, but the humor and absurdity of it all is a juggernaut that compels the audience to just roll with it. I only know Andy Garcia from "The Godfather III" and "Will & Grace," in both of which he played tough, smarmy guys, so I was really impressed with his insecure, sad-sack dad/wannabe actor. I'm always a little bit annoyed at Emily Mortimer - so dainty and puckered - but even more so in this film since she gets all the quirky, pretentious lines. *Spoilers* Furthermore, I watched this movie again on DVD with subtitles on, and they indicate that Molly changes her British accent to American preceding her confession. I couldn't tell the difference at all when I saw this in the theatre without subtitles, which makes me wonder how Mortimer gets cast for so many American roles!

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer


A lovely and enjoyable comedy.Not flawless and unique but instead it has many hilarious sequences.

Reza Mohseni
Reza Mohseni

Super Reviewer

city island, test string

Anatoliy Dudaev
Anatoliy Dudaev

Super Reviewer


Perhaps meant as a look inside an area of NYC, similar to Brooklyn Lobster, City Island shows us a very dysfunctional family while giving us a narrative tour of the feel of the title area. The script is reasonable enough and holds enough humorous moments, especially in the closing confrontation where mistaken assumptions collide, but I felt that, especially in the case of lead character Andy Garcia, it laid on the goomba a bit too thickly. Garcia plays a corrections officer who is secretly taking acting lessons in an attempt to fulfill his childhood dream. He was going to go to college and perhaps pursue that dream, but then life kind of got in the way - so now he's taking classes on the sly, telling his wife that he's going to play poker on the nights he's taking classes. While at a class the teacher (nice cameo by the always wonderful Alan Arkin), asks the class to pair up and then tell your partner your deepest secret. Garcia pair up with Emily Mortimer (who is perfectly cast), who slowly tells not only her own secret, but gets Garcia to open up about his own dark secret and then to act on it. She also coerces him to attend a casting call where, in a bit of unbelievability, he lands a call back for a feature film. But reading between the lines, there is a tale of life and a certain brand of love that comes from life experiences. Julianna Margulies plays the "hurricane" of frustrated wife to a tee - knowing her man and loving him, yet frustrated by some of his failings. She and Garcia don't really communicate anymore and keep secrets from each other - from silly things like their continued smoking to much deeper things concerning feelings and desires. In the middle of this there is the all too bright teenage son who has a secret passion for large women. I've heard of this and some of its variations, like feederism - but this is the first film where I've seen it openly presented as a mainstream, almost natural, obsession. Kudos to the scriptwriter for bringing this to light without making a huge joke out of it. While not a work of high art, this film held my interest in spite of a bit of heavy handedness, combining enough of the underlying heaviness of keeping secrets and not following through on life, with a strong bit of natural humor.

paul sandberg
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

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