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The Squid and the Whale (2005)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  16 December 2005 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 57,475 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 224 user | 107 critic | 37 from

Follows two young boys dealing with their parents' divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 23 wins & 38 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
David Benger ...
Molly Barton ...
Graduate Student
Bo Berkman ...
Graduate Student
Matthew Kaplan ...
Graduate Student
Simon Kaplan ...
Graduate Student
Matthew Kirsch ...
Graduate Student
Daniella Markowicz ...
Graduate Student
Graduate Student
Ben Schrank ...
Graduate Student


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 up 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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Joint Custody Blows.


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, graphic dialogue and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 December 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Lula e a Baleia  »

Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$279,938 (USA) (14 October 2005)


£506,477 (UK) (5 May 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Shot in 23 days. See more »


The ambulance that takes Bernard away is painted FDNY red. EMS was not merged into the fire department until the '90s, and prior to that ambulances were painted in the EMS colors: orange, blue and white. See more »


[first lines]
Frank Berkman: Mom and me versus you and Dad.
See more »


Featured in The 63rd Annual Golden Globe Awards (2006) See more »


Intermezzi, Op. 76
Written by Johannes Brahms
Performed by Luba Edlina
Courtesy of Chandos Records Limited
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

depressingly refreshing
8 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

More acutely than I've experienced in a long time, this film captures the process of personality inheritance within families. The interaction/influence between Bernard and Walt is almost painful to watch at times, but it's completely rich. Beyond just that father/son dynamic, the story is so poignant without ever getting sappy - a true accomplishment for a family drama involving divorce. Nothing hits you over the head. Nothing seems too forced. While there's plenty of confusion, discomfort, and alienation, a sense of love shines through, and I couldn't help but get attached to all of the characters. I recommend this film unconditionally.

66 of 90 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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