911 was excruciatingly difficult for Americans, but not more difficult than it was for 7 year-old Pete Davidson. His hero, his everything, a New York City firefighter and his Dad lost his life that day. Directed by Judd Apatow and Starring/Producing resident SNL’s Pete Davidson, The King Of Staten Island delves into the psyche of a grown man grappling for identity, normalcy and letting his Mom live her best life in the aftermath of tragedy.
Straight up, when the first scene rolled, I though this would be a really long, uncomfortable sketch from Saturday Night Live where the joke was taking a little too long to land. Imagine my surprise when it turns out this film is actually taking on some really tough topics that will resonate off the screen. Most importantly, the best reason to watch this film is not only for the issues it raises, but for the fantabulous Marisa Tomei (Margie Carlin). For decades, Tomei has been shedding that wonderful quirky image from her Oscar winning role in ‘My Cousin Vinny,‘ by taking on darker, more complex, grown-up roles (Empire, Human Capital, Avengers, Spider-Man). She nails it here! As a widow caught between honoring the memory of her late husband and awkwardly moving on, Marisa Tomei is nothing short of spectacular. Not one time is she ever seen as weak, frail or unable to handle the challenges and curveballs life throws her way.
With the biggest curve of them all coming from the most unlikely of suitors Ray Bishop (Bill Burr), Ray is tough, but melts like butter whenever he’s near Margie. They kinda compliment each other in all the right ways. And then there’s Bel Powley (Kelsey), who wants nothing more than to be Scott’s (Pete Davidson) eternal plus one. I think it’s safe to say the although the story centers around Scott and his loss, it’s the women you walk away with the utmost respect for. Kudos to Pete Davidson for being brave enough to pull up the blinds on one of the most painful chapters in his life and making it a piece of cinema that will ultimately save the lives because The King of Staten Island would have resonated for one or millions suffering from insurmountable grief.
Produced by Universal Pictures, The King of Staten Island is streaming via VOD right now.