Based on the true childhood experiences of Noah Baumbach and his brother, The Squid and the Whale tells the touching story of two young boys dealing with their parents' divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s.
With only the plan of moving in together after high school, two unusually devious friends seek direction in life. As a mere gag, they respond to a man's newspaper ad for a date, only to find it will greatly complicate their lives.
In an apartment on Manhattan a couple of friends from the New York upper-class meet almost every night to talk about social mobility, play bridge and discuss Fourier's socialism; the cynic Nick, the philosophical Charlie, party girl Sally and austenite Audrey. They are joined by Tom. His background is much simpler and he is critical of their way of life. But he finds a soul mate in Audrey, who without his knowledge falls in love with him. Written by
This film is a brilliant talkfest, with the decline of the New York WASP social setting a major point. It's set on a couple weeks during the Christmas season, with Tom Townsend being invited to a party, much by chance, by Nick and his friends. He doesn't "belong", but everyone likes him, some more than others. He does seem rather odd, with his socialist ideas, and his anti-party attitude. What develops is an odd relationship between Tom and Nick, as well as between Tom and a girl named Audrey.
Christopher Eigmann, as Nick, is a stand out in this cast. He is cynical, pessimistic, yet probably the smartest one in the group. He spouts of dialogue with conviction and care.
What makes this film work is the slight sadness we feel at the disintegration of this class, without having ever been part of it.
Some people will find it boring. It doesn't have the prerequisite number of explosions for the action fans, and not much does happen. But the way this film is executed, where dialogue is the key, makes this film one of the ten best of 1990.
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