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.
Successful Carolinian George Johnsten meets Chicago art gallery owner Madeleine at an electoral benefit art auction- love at first sight. Madeleine decides to meet a Southern original artist, so George seizes the opportunity to come along and present her to his North Carolina parents Eugene and Peg, drop-out brother Johhny and his high-pregnant wife Ashley. Confronting the outsider soon opens a can of worms as emotions revive or emerge, like admiration and jealousy. Written by
An excellent study of characters with a strong sense of place.
A very intelligent script, with direction that does it justice. Rather than spelling out exactly what we're supposed to be thinking and feeling at every moment, the filmmakers respect the audience's ability to infer meaning from the mood and tone, from the light in a frame or the ambient noise of a scene (or, for that matter, from the complete silence in which we occasionally are allowed to contemplate the house and small town where the story is set). As for the actors, they must have been thrilled to have the chance to play such complex, well-rounded characters, each of them at times being fine and even something like noble, at other times frustrating and perhaps even cruel. Just like real people, in other words. Amy Adams deserves the praise she's received for a role that could have easily been a caricature, but I'd like to also mention Embeth Davidtz for her precise and empathetic work in another part that might have easily been done in a hackneyed way.
All through this film, there are moments where we fear that its makers are going to settle for the cliché, but they never do. By the end, we feel that we've learned a great deal about the characters and the community which produced them, and we also sense that we'll never fully grasp all of their mysteries and contradictions. Very fine work from everyone involved.
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