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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 57,569 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 224 user | 107 critic | 37 from Metacritic.com

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



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 21 wins & 40 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?


Bill Murray was set to star in the main role, but backed out in the last minute because he wanted to take a break after filming Broken Flowers (2005). He was later replaced by Jeff Daniels. See more »


Post-1986 model cars are seen during most exterior shots. See more »


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


Referenced in The 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards (2009) See more »


Love on a Real Train
Written by Christopher Franke (as Christophe Franke), Edgar Froese, and Johannes Schmölling (as Johannes Schmoelling)
Performed by Tangerine Dream
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Well Drawn Characters
1 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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.

51 of 74 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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