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 1986, In Brooklyn, New York, the dysfunctional family of pseudo intellectuals composed by the university professor Bernard and the prominent writer Joan split. Bernard is a selfish, cheap and jealous decadent writer that rationalizes every attitude in his family and life and does not accept "philistines" - people that do not read books or watch movies, while the unfaithful Joan is growing as a writer and has no problems with "philistines". Their sons, the teenager Walt and the boy Frank, feel the separation and take side: Walt stays with Bernard, and Frank with Joan, and both are affected with abnormal behaviors. Frank drinks booze and smears with sperm the books in the library and a locker in the dress room of his school. The messed-up and insecure Walt uses Roger Water's song "Hey You" in a festival as if it was of his own, and breaks with his girlfriend Sophie. Meanwhile Joan has an affair with Frank's tennis teacher Ivan and Bernard with his student Lili. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
It's interesting to read all of the comments and how each reviewer has found something unique that calls to them. Some reviewers have focused on the boys or the father or the mother. Different scenes have been noted, almost none by more than one reviewer. What this tells me is that the writer/director has crafted a story in which all of the scenes contribute to the whole. This was my experience watching the movie. It was believable, well shot, great backgrounds, all in all a treat for anyone who loves movies and can handle some pretty raw dialog/situations.....and nothing gets blown up.
I would recommend this only for adults or a very mature teenager. The language and situations are tough but as I said, very believable. I identified with much of what the teens in this movie are going through and my sympathies definitely sided with them against their self-involved and self-indulgent parents. This is the best role I've ever seen Jeff Daniels in and having known men in my life like his character I think he was spot-on with his portrayal. There were no weak characterizations with any of the actors, for that matter.
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