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.
Ruth Stoops is a poor indigent drug-user (a huffer - inhaling glue and paint for a high) whose down and out existence is complicated once more by becoming pregnant (she has had and lost four children already). When a judge orders that she gets an abortion or face a felony charge, she is befriended by Gail Stoney, a pro-lifer whose husband is president of the local "Babysavers" group. Suddenly Ruth is thrust into the middle of the pro-choice/pro-life struggle, with each side wanting her to take their side as a "message" to others - and the situation escalates... Written by
Gary Dickerson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In the wake of the huge success "Sideways" is garnering lately, everyone should look back at this incredible film from Alexander Payne, which shows off everything he and writing partner Jim Taylor are best at- the dark skewering of small-town America, rich with satire and heart. I had seen all of Payne's films except this one, and although I really loved all of them, this may be his most fully realized. This is probably because his targets are hit exactly dead-on, and the absurdity of the situations are in fact, achingly real. Laura Dern gives a wonderful and unflinching portrayal of Ruth, and the rest of the cast, especially Swoosie Kurtz, Mary Kay Place, and in a small role, Burt Reynolds, are exceptional as the targets of Payne's satire. Payne fills his films with little details of small-town life, and here they add so much to the point of the story. Take for example the grace that Kurtwood Smith's character gives, which is barely heard because of the roaring plane overhead. It is these details that are the crux of a story like this. So as "Sideways" continues to claim many awards (and rightfully so), I urge you to check out this earlier film from Payne, and experience a brilliant little film, and one of the gutsiest movies you may ever see.
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