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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

City Island (review)

“Greek in scope,” one character mutters while witnessing the inevitable collision of half a dozen whopper-sized lies near the end of this hilarious and witty portrait of a functional dysfunctional New York City family. In the hands of a less capable filmmaker than writer-director Raymond De Felitta, the epic comic-tragedy of it could merely have referred to the film itself, which is laden with the potential to be everything that such small, personal, indie filmmaking is: self-conscious, sentimental, precious. Instead, clichés are busted at every turn, mawkishness is nowhere to be found, and every detail is so beautifully executed that it all adds up to that most wonderful of rarities: a perfect, perfect film. Strikingly utilizing its unexpected setting — the small New England fishing village in the Bronx called City Island — this is the tale of the Rizzos and the secrets they keep from one another… secrets that are barely worth keeping hidden yet weigh heavily upon them. Andy Garcia (Ocean’s Thirteen) and Julianna Margulies (Snakes on a Plane) create one of the most credible long-time-married couples cinema has seen in ages, but the entire cast — including Emily Mortimer (Redbelt), Alan Arkin (Marley & Me), Steven Strait (Stop-Loss), and Garcia’s real-life daughter, Dominik García-Lorido — couldn’t be more faultless. Don’t miss this film.

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watch at home

MPAA: rated PG-13 for sexual content, smoking and language

viewed at a public multiplex screening

official site | IMDb | trailer
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