Parallel storylines tell the current state of affairs for two ex-lovers: Nora's a single mother who comes to care for her terminally ill father; holed in up in mental ward, Ismael, a brilliant musician, plots his escape.
The Vuillard family is no stranger to physical/mental illness, loss, and banishment. But when the matriarch becomes in need of a transplant, the whole family is forced to come together, emotional baggage and all, just in time for Christmas.
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.
In the 1970s, a young transwomen, Patrick "Kitten" Braden, comes of age by leaving her Irish town for London, in part to look for her mother and in part because his gender identity is beyond the town's understanding.
The stories of Nora during a brief period when her father falls ill and of Ismaël while involuntarily committed to a mental institution for observation. Nora's in her 30s and has loved four men - her son Elias, Elias's deceased father, her own father, and Ismaël, a musician given to odd behavior with whom she lived seven years. She will soon marry a businessman. Faced with her father's death, Nora seeks out Ismaël to ask that he reconnect with Elias; a great deal else roils from her past. Ismaël has his own challenges, not the least of which are his feelings toward adopting Elias and his meeting Arielle, another patient. Ismaël's surface shows a lot; Nora's, very little. Written by
It starts out with a woman describing her various marriages, then, after a bit, we meet a man right before he is condemned to a mental hospital. The connections and the backstory aren't clear at the outset, but this is not at all frustrating in this film. Instead, I was captivated from the beginning. The dialogue is all top-notch, very literary but also grounded. The style of the film is quite remarkable; the two plots are expertly intertwined, and the director makes judicious use of a quick-cut technique in which he rapidly shows the viewer two, usually brief, takes of the same action or emotional reaction. The acting is very strong, and the characters are sympathetic but also, well, "complicated." Finally, the story is very poignant and at times crushing, but it also contains a wealth of little charming moments and amusing quirks. I can't really do justice to how good this movie is, though, so really, I can only say that I highly recommend it!
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