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
Poetic and charming little film about culture cross and family ties
Some films do not need to tie in every little plot detail in order to make for a more true to life form. Not all families discuss their problems or their angst openly. Most of the time you have to decipher them through little nuanced non-verbal symbols. Junebug does it perfectly.
At the base the plot follows newlyweds on their trek to NC from Chicago as the wife, Madeline, goes to close a deal with an eccentric southern painter. While there they decide to stop in and see her husband, George's family, who comes form NC originally. He has tried to separate himself from that culture and his family altogether. He has been married for six months and his family were not invited to the wedding, and his brother holds strong feelings of jealousy against him. It seems ho-hum form the plot synopsis, but then comes Amy Adams as the brother, Johnathan's wife and very pregnant Ashley.
Amy Adams is absolutely amazing. She brings a charm and wit to this picture when it seems like it is a bit dreary. Her heartwarming turn as an optimistic and young mother to be with a heart of southern gold is achingly warm and sincere. She alone makes the film a must see as she can force the audience from laughter to tears with the flip of a dime.
The direction is poetic and the cinematography allows for an unbelievably laid back southern tone. Nothing about this film is rushed and that makes it so wonderful to behold. Seeing how a family can generally and truly love each other inside, and because of cultural and societal norms strive to find ways to show love and respect for each other is achingly sincere. Sometimes you as the audience scream for them to communicate, especially the brothers as their strife is never discussed or resolved just tolerated.
Overall this film is a great cultural study that goes beyond stereotype to show the love and respect the writer and director have for the material and the people of North Carolina. This is a truly warm and comforting piece of southern pleasure that shines in a pool of darkness that is Sundance 2005.
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