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.
Coming of age in Plainsboro, New Jersey. High school student Hal Hefner stutters. On the evening his parents stop arguing and separate, 43 miles away at the state tournament, his school's legendary debater, Ben Wekselbaum, goes blank mid-sentence, Ben's teammate Ginny Ryerson doesn't get a first-place trophy, and the world changes. That fall, to Hal's amazement, Ginny recruits him for the debate team, mentors him, and will be his partner. He still has his stutter, but he works hard and he falls in love with Ginny. On the day of the first debate of the season, the world changes again. From then until the day of the state tournament, Hal has a lot to sort out. Is love rocket science? Written by
One of last years best scripts and a breakout performance from the natural Reece Thompson ensures Rocket Science is up on 2007's biggest sleepers list. Unlike the overrated Juno, Jeffrey Blitz's stimulating screenplay hardly ever rings hollow, despite the fact some of these high schooler's made that pregnant whippersnapper sound like a three year old. Here though, as unrealistically hyper-articulate as this high school debate team, indie-romance styled dramedy feels, Blitz possesses the rare ability to seamlessly merge it with a whole bunch of tender awkwardness and create something far superior then a wit-fest.
Encapsulating this neurotic whimsy is the gifted Thompson (amongst other very well casted performances) who like a younger, more accessible Jason Schwartzman, takes an annoyingly exploited trait of stuttering unease and mines it into a tender, thoughtful coming of age characterization that should inspire even the most cynical of introverts.
Littered with scene after scene of a simply far more perceptive quirk then what Hollywood's continuously dumbed-down interpretations of independent film used to be, Rocket Science blasts off with personality and style to spare.
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