Margot and her son Claude decide to visit her sister Pauline after she announces that she is getting married to less-than-impressive Malcolm. In short order, the storm the sisters create leaves behind a a mess of thrashed relationships and exposed family secrets.
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.
A slice of family life: sisters, husbands, children, history, secrets, jealousies. Margot and her teen son, Claude, travel from Manhattan to her family's Long Island home, occupied by sister Pauline, Pauline's daughter, and Malcolm, the slacker Pauline will marry outdoors that week under a tree neighbors want removed. Backbiting marks family discussion, particularly between the sisters and in Margot's cutting remarks to Claude. Pauline tells Margot a secret that Margot promptly tells Claude. Margot dislikes Malcolm and undermines him. She also has marital problems and a lover nearby. People are cruel, inside and outside their families. Is there a refuge for Margot or for Pauline? Written by
While I was less enthusiastic about "The Squid and the Whale" than most, it clearly had it merits. In particular director Noah Baumbach obviously worked extremely well with his actors, drawing fine performances from all. Its not surprising that actors took note of this new talent on the block. To their credit, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jack Black all worked for way below their usual fees, simply to do this movie with Baumbach.
All three turn in great performances. There's no doubt about that. The thing is when all is said and done, watching dysfunctional families is not necessarily riveting viewing. At some point you ask yourself, do I really need to see this? "Margot at the Wedding" leaves you with very little other than the performances.
Watching people act out is not art. There really has to be more than this.
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