An uptight, conservative, businesswoman accompanies her boyfriend to his eccentric and outgoing family's annual Christmas celebration and finds that she's a fish out of water in their free-spirited way of life.
Sarah Jessica Parker,
An unseen narrator looks back to 1956, on Staten Island, when Buddy, an Italian guy with big dreams, buys a house planning to live upstairs with his wife Estelle and run a bar downstairs. The first problem is Estelle's lack of confidence in Buddy. Then, Irish tenants upstairs refuse to move and won't pay rent; plus, the woman upstairs is about to have a baby. The next problem is the baby: once he's born, it's clear his father was Black. The Irish guy splits; Buddy evicts mother and child, then feels guilt and sets her up in a flat while she sorts out an adoption. Estelle's lack of faith, the Irish lass's spirit, Buddy's dream, racial prejudice, and the baby's fate play out. Written by
I remember reading good reviews for this little film but never got a chance to see it in the theatre. But we rented it recently and enjoyed it very much. Full of real characters with real emotions and real conflicts, the movie moves along at a nice pace with some real twists and surprises along the way. Terrific performances (especially from the lead - Michael Rispoli - who can be over the top at times in other films or just give wonderfully layered performances - like on the Sopranos or his work as a priest in The Third Miracle). I also really enjoyed how a fake Hollywood ending wasn't tacked on. If a BIG star had been in this or a HUGE studio had been behind it, they would have insisted that he become a BIG star at the end and sells millions of records. Nope, all that happens is he follows his heart and ends up happy and content. Pretty darned cool.
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