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.
Acting under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film, a CIA agent launches a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1980.
Over a meal in a French restaurant, Sy poses a conundrum to his fellow diners: Is the essence of life comic or tragic? For the sake of argument, he tells a story, which the others then embellish to illustrate their takes on life. The story starts as follows: A young Manhattan couple, Park Avenue princess Laurel and tippling actor Lee, throw a dinner party to impress Lee's would-be producer when their long-lost friend Melinda appears at their front door, bedraggled and woebegone. In the tragic version of what happens next, the beautiful intruder is a disturbed woman who got bored with her Midwestern doctor-husband and dumped him for a photographer. Her husband took the children away and she spiraled into a suicidal depression that landed her straight-jacketed in a mental ward. In the comic version, Melinda is childless and a downstairs neighbor to the dinner hosts, who are ambitious Indy filmmaker Susan and under-employed actor Hobie. Back and forth the stories go, contrasting the ... Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Winona Ryder was originally cast as Melinda, but was forced to drop out because no agency would insure her due to her famous arrest for shoplifting. Woody Allen stated in the book "Conversations with Woody Allen" that he wanted to cast Ryder, but he couldn't get a bonding on her. See more »
At the beginning of the movie it is poring with rain and yet not a single car that drives by on the street has its windshield wipers on See more »
What do you do for exercise?
Tiddly winks. And an occasional anxiety attack.
See more »
2 disparate views of the past and future from the same present.
This presentation is original and clever; very nicely twisted from the Rashamon perceptions of several disparate pasts. As usual, Woody is very perceptive and a master of dialog, especially in fracturing relationships.
I noted that the "comedy" writer was heavily focused on the tragic elements of his plot line, while the "tragedy" writer saw little humor in his plot line. Actually, the 2 writers did not seem to differ very much at all in their views. It does not appear that Woody finds life very humorous. Rather, he finds humorous elements in mundane and sad events.
More obviously, most of the characters sound just like Woody. The comedy writer might as well have been Woody and Will Ferrell is a Woody stand-in. Several of the others, including the women, had numerous "Woody" moments. It seems like the actors and even the screen are interfering with Woody's attempts to present his art. Unlike other directors who expect the actors to climb into the characters, Woody seems to ask the actors to stand still while he paints them as the characters. Would he prefer to simple do a monologue?
26 of 39 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?