Film Description from Toronto International Film Festival Programme

Brooklyn Lobster film synopsisWhen Maureen Giorgio (Jane Curtin) says “I thought the cheese was slipping off my cracker for awhile,” she conveys the generally flustered esprit of the Giorgio family. Brooklyn Lobster’s gentle humour articulates the bittersweet nature of change as it recounts the challenges of living a small-town life in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, in multi-cultural New York City.

Kevin Jordan (whose Smiling Fish and Goat on Fire won the Discovery Award at the Toronto International Film Festival in 1999) shows genuine affection for every member in this wacky family portrait, perhaps because it is based on his own family’s lobster shop. Frank Giorgio (a commanding role for Danny Aiello) stands out as an aging patriarch trying to maintain his Brooklyn pride when the bank that holds the small business loan for his lobster farm forecloses. A hardworking man who listens to only oldies on the radio, Frank sees his worth as inextricably tied to his company. It is just this traditional attitude that has alienated his wife (Curtin) and grown-up children (understated but powerful performances by Daniel Sauli and Marisa Ryan). Much of the pathos and the comedy of the film comes from the viewer’s understanding that Frank must temper his resistance to change and learn to express his love for his family in a more - or less? - conventional way if he is to find contentment. Curtin is formidable and funny as the woman who loves Frank but can’t shake the feeling there is more for her out there in the world.

Location of Brooklyn Lobster, Jordan's Lobster Dock in Sheepshead Bay, BrooklynThe cast of sharply original characters pair with the distinctive location settings to lend the film loads of old-world charm. Nevertheless, Aiello’s Frank is the most compelling of all. Though he is supported by the love of his family and a close-knit community, they can only stand by helplessly as he ignores advice and stubbornly makes mistakes. Amid the film’s lovely, spot-on nostalgia, Frank is a reminder that sometimes it is time to change the tune on the radio to something less familiar.

- Michèle Maheux
  Managing Director
  Toronto International Film Festival Group