CITY ISLAND movie review

by Rick Grant
This funny story is about a family keeping secrets from one another, assuming that the other members of the family would not understand their actions. Written and directed by Raymond De Felitta, with Andy Garcia and Julianne Margulies portraying married couple Vince and Joyce Rizzo.
The couple live on City Island, a seaside village just over a bridge from the Bronx. Vince is a Corrections Officer who longs to be an actor. On the nights he attends acting class, Vince tells his wife he’s going to a poker game. She suspects he’s having an affair.
This fundamental misunderstanding causes terrible friction between Vince and Joyce as their marriage goes through a rough patch. Their daughter, Vivian got busted with marijuana and was suspended from high school in her senior year. Consequently, lost her scholarship. Ashamed to tell her parents, she moonlights as a stripper to earn enough money to pay for college herself.
The couple’s 14 year old son, Vince Jr. (Ezra Miller) is secretly a “chubby chaser” and goes to fat girls’ porn sites on the Internet.
Tony acts as catalyst to bring Vince and Joyce’s conflicts to a head. He’s the stranger in the house that everyone confides in. While each member of the family harbors a secret, they go on with life like nothing is bothering them, which puts enormous stress on everyone.
In the first half of the movie, Juliana Margulies is unrecognizable as herself. She’s the typical Bronx bitch with the heavy accent and a mouth with one volume–loud. Margulies is such a versatile actress she pulls off the role with confidence and spirited verve. She works well with Garcia. The two have worked together on other projects. So, it was like old times on the set.
As each secret comes out, the result is hilarious, as Joyce just can’t believe that her husband has not been having an affair after all, and has been taking acting lessons! It’s such a shock, her emotions are blasted on a roller-coaster ride.
Molly has her own secret and when it is revealed, she is left out of the conclusion– a sad figure trying to live out her dream. Emily Mortimer leaves the audience with a lasting impression with her acting skill.
This low budget indie is well worth viewing. It’s both funny, poignant, and shows how secrets within famlies deepen conflicts. A marriage should be based on sharing and honesty, otherwise things can get really screwed up.