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Worth A Look: 8.33%
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1 review, 18 user ratings

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Brooklyn Lobster
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by Tom Ciorciari

"A pitch-perfect ode to the working man."
5 stars

SCREENED AS PART OF THE 2005 HAMPTONS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL. Into every life a little rain must fall, but Frank Giordano is drowning. His bank defaulted on his loan and the FDIC is breathing down his neck for money that he just doesn’t have. So Frank must put up for auction the business that his father started back in 1938 and pray for a miracle. In the meantime his wife of 30-some odd years has quite amiably decided that she’s done and moved out, his son Michael has just flown in from Seattle with his girlfriend for the Christmas holidays, and there is a 50-foot inflatable Santa riding an equally oversized inflatable lobster over his parking lot.

Using this deceptively simple and seemingly familiar set-up writer/director Kevin Jordan has crafted a beautifully nuanced and vivid portrait of the struggles of the small businessman to keep his head above water – Frank’s tale as relevant now, in this era of corporate buy-outs and a withering middle class, as at any time in the last fifty years. But rather than a requiem for the small businessman Brooklyn Lobster is a celebration; an acknowledgment of not only the professional triumphs and/or failures but, rather, the working man’s ability to persevere regardless.

As Frank Giordano Danny Aiello (Moonstruck, Do The Right Thing) gives a relaxed, lived-in performance that anchors the film and sets a naturalistic tone that the other performers will follow. Not necessarily new ground for the actor (Frank could easily be Do The Right Thing’s Sal fifteen years after the riot), Aiello nevertheless breathes fresh air into what might have been a stock role, bringing a touching vulnerability to his performance. Daniel Sauli as the home-just-for-the-holidays Michael gives a bravura performance, refusing to take the easy route and play his character for laughs alone. Sauli’s Michael is neither the weak son who ran away from a father he could never live up, nor his pop’s brick, but a shaded combination of both. In another standout performance Marisa Ryan, as Lauren, Frank’s daughter, one woman office staff and accountant, fully conveys the weariness that comes with the obligations weighed upon the daughters of Italian-American’s of a certain generation and mindset, whilst also trying to be a wife and mother. She is truly her father’s brick. As Frank’s estranged wife Maureen, Saturday Night Live and sitcom alumna Jane Curtin turns in a surprisingly subtle performance that compliments Aiello’s Frank perfectly. The resignation in her eyes when she tells Frank that she’s been lonely for the entirety of their marriage is truly heartbreaking in its simple honesty.

Yet the true star of Brooklyn Lobster is writer and director Kevin Jordan. Basing the events of the film somewhat on his own family (his father runs Jordan’s Lobster Farm, which subbed for Giordano’s in the film) Jordan has written a screenplay that constantly surprises by avoiding easy sitcom humor and/or the almost expected turn toward crime. Like his mentor, Martin Scorsese in his neo-realist phase (Mean Streets. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore), Jordan’s film feels spontaneous; we forget that we’re watching a movie and simply want things to work out for Frank and his family, because they could just as easily be our family. That Jordan is so adroitly able to do so is breathtaking in its accomplishment.

One of the best films in many a year, “Brooklyn Lobster” deserves the box office usually reserved for major studio rom-coms. Do yourself a favor and seek this film out when it opens November 4. You’ll thank me, and ten years from now you’ll be able to tell your friends and family how you saw the film that put Kevin Jordan on the map before anyone else.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=13061&reviewer=384
originally posted: 10/26/05 00:19:50
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

3/01/15 manalone923 IDIOT 1 stars
1/07/06 Spirlene Excellent 4 stars
11/28/05 Scott C. Weems Where was Slim and Harvey?? Brought back great memories!!! 5 stars
11/20/05 Ariel Grunberg Loved It 5 stars
11/12/05 Nancy slow, actors were robotic. Aiello was good but the son sucked 2 stars
11/09/05 Cory Wolin Great movie! 5 stars
11/05/05 Diana Ferrara A Heartfelt Comedy...A story about life... 5 stars
11/05/05 paolo frassanito entertaining and very believable 5 stars
11/04/05 Michelle Cabral great cast, great movie 5 stars
11/04/05 Nancy Donohue Compassionate, funny film 5 stars
11/04/05 Audrey Prahl A must-see! Highly recommend! 5 stars
11/04/05 Marianne Pizzo Wonderfully done! Heartfelt! Must See! 5 stars
11/04/05 mari scala heartwarming reality 5 stars
11/03/05 Marie McEvoy Wonderful and heartfelt! 5 stars
10/27/05 Neelie Fabulous movie...from the heart 5 stars
10/24/05 the untrained eye Best movie of its kind since "True Love" back in '89! 5 stars
9/18/05 denny nice story but nothing new; well acted 3 stars
9/13/05 Marilyn Wright Loved it!! 4 stars
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  04-Nov-2005 (R)
  DVD: 19-Dec-2006



Directed by
  Kevin Jordan

Written by
  Kevin Jordan

  Danny Aiello
  Jane Curtin
  Daniel Sauli
  Heather Burns
  Marisa Ryan
  Ian Kahn

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