AWFJ Women On Film – “City Island” – Joanna Langfield reviews

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There are many reasons why this sweetheart of a movie is so disarming, but one of it‘s most outstanding attributes is that it absolutely loves women. And there are superb performances by three terrific actresses.

Sure, the story swirls around a man: Andy Garcia, to be specific, is dandy as a working class nice guy, aching to tap into his inner Brando. He’s the kind of guy who’s supposed to leave his day job as a prison guard to go back to his wife and kids on City Island (an uptown NYC neighborhood) at night, but actually sneaks off to an acting class down in the Village, led by the sublimely bored Alan Arkin.

Is his downtown trip really about the creative process or could it be that oh-so-attractive scene partner who keeps his interest, uh, peaked?

Emily Mortimer has a fine time playing said actress: mysteriously supportive of her friend’s struggles, both professionally and personally.

We know early on she’s not a threat to anybody’s marriage. But we don’t know that our girl has a not-so little-history of her own. Writer/director Raymond DeFelitta allows Mortimer to take her time revealing sneaky bits of her back story. When the truth is told, it delivers a wallop.

Also lovely is the casting of Garcia’s real life daughter, the beautiful Dominik Garcia-Lorido, as Garcia’s college-aged daughter, a sexy number with her own problems. Garcia-Lorido brings the natural chemistry with her father that makes her digging back and forth with him all the more infectious.

But the one who really got me was Julianna Margulies, who knocks it out of the park as the frustrated wife and mother. Sleek and smart, Margulies has had the pleasure of co-starring with some pretty neat guys in her day (loving Clooney on “ER” and bedding “The Soprano’s” James Gandolfini), but in “City Island,“ she gets to really play. A woman who’s not all that comfy with kids who don’t seem to need her as much as they used to, and whose husband is off God knows where, she’s not one to keep her mouth shut about things.

Sparks fly when this lady’s in the room and Margulies keep them sparkling. It’s ironic that, since this movie has been waiting a year or so for theatrical release, it is hitting theaters just as “The Good Wife” is blooming into one of the best new series on television. The two women Margulies plays could not be more different, and her fine work in both roles show us an actress relishing her prime.

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Joanna Langfield

Her voice is heard throughout the 50 states and around the world by more than one million listeners on her syndicated radio programs: Joanna Langfield’s People Report and Video and Movie Minute. She’s also seen and heard as a regular contributing commentator on CNN International, CNN, Fox News and CNBC. In print, her articles have been published in such high profile magazines as Video Review and McCall’s. Joanna Langfield is known for taking interviews to another level with probing looks at celebrities’ insights rather than just their latest projects. As a result, she’s secured a niche among the nation’s premier interviewers and movie critics. Joanna began her career on the production staff of a local Boston television station. She then focused her energies towards radio and produced talk shows at WMEX-AM in Boston. After moving to New York, she became executive producer at WMCA-AM for talk show personalities Barry Gray and Sally Jessy Raphael. She began hosting a one-minute movie review spot which, in turn, led to her top-rated weekend call in-show, The Joanna Langfield Show (1980-83). Joanna moved to WABC-AM to host The Joanna Langfield Show on Saturday nights from 9:00pm to midnight. It was the highest rated show in its time slot. From 1987-1989, Joanna hosted Today’s People on the ABC Radio network, which was fed daily to over 300 stations around the country. She also appeared on WABC-TV as a regular on-air contributor. In 1989, Joanna formed her radio production company, Joanna Langfield Entertainment Reports, to syndicate her radio reports. She is considered to be one of the top authoritative commentators on the entertainment industry. Read Lagfield's recent articles below. For her Women On Film archive, type "Joanna Langfield" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).