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 as 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.
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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
For the sequence where Margot climbs the tree, Nicole Kidman refused to be replaced by a stunt-woman or use a ladder. She even made it to the top of the tree before the camera was ready to film. See more »
When Margot secretly talks to Dick on her cell phone, at times, you can hear Nicole Kidman's Australian accent, especially when she says "Saturday." See more »
A mature, very dark drama, mismarketed and misunderstood
First of all: "Margot at the Wedding" is not a comedy or a chick flick, as the distributors wanted you to believe - hence, the movie being a major box-office flop/critical failure. Noah Baumbach's follow-up to his endearing, critically acclaimed "The Squid and the Whale", is just as good as his previous film, but much darker and mature.
Margot (Nicole Kidman, in her first good film since "Dogville" - this is her comeback, too bad most people didn't get it) and her son Claude (Zane Pais) go visit Margot's estranged sister, Pauline (the always wonderful Jennifer Jason Leigh), who's about to marry a not very distinctive type (Jack Black, okay for the first half of the movie, but shows no drama skills at a pivotal scene - his performance being the only major letdown in the movie for me). It won't be an easy time for any of them. Baumbach could've done something lighter and gotten another critics' fave like "Whale", but thank God for real auteurs, he did something different, and succeeded on it (at least, in my books!). "Margot at the Wedding" is, right from the title, a homage to Éric Rohmer ("Pauline at the Beach" - by the way, Baumbach's movie was entitled "Nicole at the Beach", but they had to change the title when Kidman was cast), with similarities to Bergman ("Persona", in particular) and Woody Allen's more serious films ("September", for instance, which were already inspired by Bergman). Baumbach's writing is fantastic, very quotable and personal, and the cast got the idea and did a remarkable job (except for Black). A misunderstood gem. 9/10.
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