by Elaine Hegwood Bowen
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City Island is a film about a man who’s hiding secrets from his family, and a family who is hiding secrets from one another.
Andy Garcia plays Vince, a prison guard who lives in City Island, Queens, who happens to run into his illegitimate son one day in lockup. He’s never met the man, but from the last name he suspects that it is his son. The inmate is due to get released soon, and Vince takes him into his custody for 30 days. But he doesn’t tell his family that this may be his son.
The daughter in the family is hiding the fact that she has to supplement college tuition by working in the entertainment business. Both parents still smoke but neither knows it. And the young teenaged son in the family has his own “adult” leanings.
Vince is also secretly taking acting lessons, his absence for which has his wife thinking he’s cheating on her. He’s too ashamed to let his wife, whose name is Joyce and played by Julianna Margulies, know his aspirations, so he just lets her think what she wants.
However, all the secrets come to light, but not before Joyce has a near fling with the visitor, who is technically her stepson, and the stepson just so happens to run into the daughter at the strip joint. USA Today’s Claudia Puig calls City Island a “breath of fresh air,” and it won the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival Heineken Audience Award. It is a hilarious and touching tale about a family who is trying to keep it all together, amid all that’s happening.
While everyone has something that they would rather not share, the family in City Island finally realizes that while the truth may not set them free, it’s easier to keep track of than all their well-intentioned white lies. I loved Garcia in this movie; it gave him a chance to portray a lighter, fancy-free character.
City Island is available August 24 on DVD and Blu-ray from Anchor Bay Entertainment. For more information, visit Web sites www.cityislandmovie.com or www.anchorbayent.com.
Elaine Hegwood Bowen is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago.
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