There are times when it's right and proper to simply bury the dead. This is not one of those times... Gram Parsons was one of the most influential musicians of his time; a bitter, brilliant... See full summary »
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.
Starting from childhood attempts at illustration, the protagonist pursues his true obsession to art school. But as he learns how the art world really works, he finds that he must adapt his vision to the reality that confronts him.
The Knoxville, Tennessee-set film, written by Bronson, is a dark comedy about a father (Knoxville) struggling to keep his once lucrative Tennessee golfing empire intact when his estranged 14-year-old daughter (a gifted musician) is unexpectedly left in his care. Written by
Put any other actress in the "leading" role of June (Sophie Traub), and this film goes over the top, off the cliff, and vanishes into the backlist of the premium cable channels. Hilary Duff would have demolished this character, as would Lindsay Lohan or any of the other Hollywood divas.
This role will do for Traub what River's Edge and Point Break did for Keanu Reeves. Neither of those films made too many waves, but they led to the top roles that he would later secure because of his performance in those films. In this film, Traub doesn't just shine, but wipes the mud off of a very mediocre script with a very mediocre supporting cast other than Juliette Lewis, who is totally misplaced and misused.
It's easy to think this is a decent script with a decent plot. It's not. It's about a woman dying of cancer who drops her gifted 14 year-old daughter with her father who hasn't seen her since birth, just as his business empire is collapsing; not that he wouldn't trade that empire for his daughter, whom he accepts immediately and appears in awe of at most times.
The daughter seems unaffected by circumstance, taking what life gives her without much outward complaint, not letting anything get in the way of her music, or her dreams of going to Julliard, where she'll be whisked into high society, with all its patronage and the social life that comes with being an artisan in Manhattan, a place where June will always be welcome.
Traub could have pulled an Oscar nomination from a less political academy, but they'll likely make her pay her dues. Look for her to get increasingly meatier roles in films with bigger and bigger budgets, until she delivers that defining performance that gets her the future Oscar that appears to have her name on it, if she maintains her present course.
Oh yeah, Johnny Knoxville isn't bad in this film. He, like the rest of the cast, is very good at getting out of the way so Traub can shine.
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