City Island, which made its World Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, is directed and written by Raymond De Felitta. The film tells the story of the Rizzo family, who lives on a little-known island in the Bronx that is as quaint and sleepy as any New England town. But the Rizzos are not as picturesque as the island they inhabit, and like most families, they all stop at nothing to avoid the truth. Vince (Andy Garcia) is the worst offender. He is a prison guard who is secretly taking acting lessons and plotting a new career. His daughter is moonlighting as a stripper, while young Vinnie Jr. has a hidden fetish involving a 300-pound neighbor. Vince’s wife Joyce (Julianna Margulies) is the family’s rock—usually—but lately she can’t get her mind off of the mysterious hired help, whose identity only Vinnie knows. The film draws refreshing comedic performances from Garcia and Margulies, and memorable turns from Emily Mortimer and Alan Arkin as, respectively, a fellow student and the teacher in Vince’s acting class.
Writer/director Raymond De Felitta (The Thing About My Folks, TFF ‘05) builds laughter and anticipation as the family’s entangled untruths take us to a heart-clenching but tender finish. Drawing refreshing comedic performances from Garcia and Margulies, and memorable turns from Emily Mortimer and Alan Arkin as a fellow student and the teacher in Vince’s acting class, De Felitta takes the age-old advice of George Bernard Shaw: “If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.” Let’s just say the Rizzos are doing the tarantella. —Tribeca Film Festival
City Island tells the story of Vince Rizzo and his family, barely surviving on a groundwork of lies and secrets. It's a nicely paced, sweetly funny and pointedly low-key family dramedy that begins to intertwine the low-key with an all-out verbal brawl that brings a knowing smile to the viewer's face. This is great non-blockbuster filmmaking with a top cast in fine form. It is what easy-to-watch cinema should be like.