Margot and her son Claude decide to visit her sister Pauline after she announces that she is marrying less-than-impressive Malcolm. In short order, the storm the sisters create leaves behind a mess of thrashed relationships and exposed family secrets.
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A story that follows a New York woman (who doesn't really have an apartment), apprentices for a dance company (though she's not really a dancer), and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possibility dwindles.
Turning her back on her wealthy, established family, Diane Arbus falls in love with Lionel Sweeney, an enigmatic mentor who introduces Arbus to the marginalized people who help her become one of the most revered photographers of the twentieth century.
Robert Downey Jr.,
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
A typical conversation from "Margot at the Wedding" might go something like this:
"You were always so pretty." "WERE pretty? Does that mean you don't think I'm pretty anymore?" "Why are you responding with all of this passive aggressive hostility? I was just trying to pay you a compliment." "You know, I was noticing earlier today that you have really bad body odor. Does that ever bother you?" "You're such a bitch."
And that's it. Scene after scene of dialogue like this, spoken by one unlikable character to another unlikable character, until you feel like the only possible way for the movie to end satisfactorily is for all of the characters to be impaled on something very sharp and preferably jagged.
Noah Baumbach made an auspicious debut with "The Squid and the Whale," but with "Margot at the Wedding" he makes the mistake of assuming that one person's morbid neuroses are inherently interesting to another. We don't learn anything about these characters, we don't care about them, and we don't like them. You tell me -- do you want to sit through 90 minutes of that?
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