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.
Three teenagers are confined to an isolated country estate that could very well be on another planet. The trio spend their days listening to endless homemade tapes that teach them a whole ... See full summary »
Separated from her incarcerated husband Bill (Hinds), Trish (Janney) is about to be married again. Bill is a pedophile, so Trish couldn't be more excited to have Harvey (Lerner), a "normal" father figure for her two sons. But when Bill is released from prison and the boys finally meet their future stepdad, the family is forced to decide whether to forgive or to forget. Trish's sister, the virginal, angelic Joy (Henderson), is also haunted by ghosts of lovers past. On leave from her degenerate husband, Allen (Williams), and her job at a New Jersey correctional facility, Joy unwittingly leaves behind a trail of shame and exposed secrets wherever she goes. In one of the film's most stylized sequences, the image of Joy walking the dark streets of Miami in her nightgown maintains her innocence against a backdrop of self-affliction and desire. Written by
Todd Solondz comes back one more time resuming stories about joy and sorrows, forgives, forgets and regrets, the same gears that leaded his previous works as Welcome To Dollhouse (1995), Happiness (1998) and Palindromes (2004), in one way or another.
Here the story surrounds the life of a kid and the members of his family that are trying to discover the meanings of when and how could people achieve the joy or the happiness in their lives just forgiving or forgetting something harmful enough to be forgotten or forgiven.
As always, Solondz plays with dark humor all the time just to relieve the weight of complex dramatic themes, giving the right balance needed to make real hard life discussions into something as ordinary as a breakfast.
The characters are well constructed and it's interesting the way they lead with the relationships between them. All the time 2 characters are discussing in a table or with something between them, using it like a place where they can put and throw - or sometimes hide - all their problems and differences but at the same time blocking and impeding the reaching of each other, like a battlefield.
Words are like guns and watching those characters hurting each other and using each other words like bullets is shocking because that's what we are, and we are responsible for that. Life During Wartime deals with complex themes, sometimes is a difficult movie for the raw, bitter and impacting dialogs, but you can't run away from them forever.
As another one said: "Todd Solondz is unique and so are his films. He forces you to look through an angle that we systematically ignore".
Great work once again.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?