City Island (2009)

city island banner
Director: Raymond De Felitta
Writer: Raymond De Felitta
Starring: Andy Garcia, Julianna Margulies, Emily Mortimer, Steven Strait, Ezra Miller & Dominik García-Lorido.

It’s always a pleasure to come across a movie I have never heard of, never read a review and can therefore approach it with zero expectations, other than a verbal recommendation.  That was the case with Raymond De Felitta’s gem, City Island, about a dysfunctional family whose patriach, a corrections officer and aspiring actor, who brings home a convicted criminal to atone for his past.

What I liked: De Felitta’s attention to character detail.  Even if, at times, those details seem to overreach there is something charming and realistic in the execution.  It is one of those stories that is so over the top it just might be true.  Andy Garcia’s performance is charming, sympathetic and authentic.  It is nice to see him carry an every-man with grace and humility.  It is also nice to see Julianna Margulies outside her comfort zone and she does well disguising herself in this role as a woman who feels she’s losing her husband.

What I didn’t like: Emily Mortimer’s Molly is, I imagine intentionally, kept at a distance in order to guide our sympathies but I often found her unlikeable.  The climax is formulaic to family dramas but, again, the execution made it cathartic and endearing.

My rating: Enjoy.

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
IMDB: 7.4

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