Parents' Guide to

City Island

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Wacky film makes smoking, teen fetish part of the joke.

Movie PG-13 2010 103 minutes
City Island Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 14+


City Island is great! Not as funny as I was hoping, but very cute & original story about a dysfunctional American Family. Sexual content is minor (no nudity - except for a very quick flash of a nude woman on a porn site), a few scenes from a strip club. A teenaged boy is obsessed with fat women and subscribes to an obese woman's "cooking" website (found that hilarious!) and there is some cheating. Language isn't too bad. Great for ages 14 and up I think!

This title has:

Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing
age 15+

Great film with good messages for 15 and up.

I really enjoyed this film, and although there is frequent smoking and sexual references, there are positive messages here, such as: families should not hide things from each other, people should be honest and fair when dealing with friends and family, and that luck is not always the best thing to count on. The iffy content is never glorified, and if your kid is an early teen, I think they will really understand what this film is saying. It's really smart, well-rounded, funny, and heartfelt. Definitely one of my favorites so far for 2010.

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (2):

CITY ISLAND could've easily gone wrong, with all its twists and turns, but for the most part, it gets family dysfunction just right. Irreverent and surprising, it's a hilarious way to lose a few hours, especially when those hours are spent with a cast that's on its game. Garcia, who shot to fame for his broody, sensual roles, plays the paterfamilias here with great zest. (His real-life daughter is cast as his oldest here, too.) Margulies, also known mostly for her dramatic turns, gives him lots to work against as his combustible wife, Joyce. But it's Miller as his droll, sarcastic son who commands the screen; his disaffected teen could almost join a pantheon that includes the likes of Ferris Bueller and nearly every character portrayed by Michael Cera.

The film's a riot, but it could've been much better with focus. City Island seems to be a metaphor for authenticity, but it's not made clear. The film starts off shrouding the area with a distinct identity, but all that gives way to a comedy that could've been set anywhere. Alan Arkin as an acting teacher is underused, and Mortimer seems more plot device than actual player. Like City Island itself, they're woefully wasted.

Movie Details

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