The Rizzos, a family who doesn't share their habits, aspirations, and careers with one another, find their delicate web of lies disturbed by the arrival of a young ex-con (Strait) brought ... See full summary »
Raymond De Felitta
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.
Nic and Jules are in a long term, committed, loving but by no means perfect relationship. Nic, a physician, needs to wield what she believes is control, whereas Jules, under that control, is less self-assured. During their relationship, Jules has floundered in her "nine to five" life, sometimes trying to start a business - always unsuccessfully - or being the stay at home mom. She is currently trying to start a landscape design business. They have two teen-aged children, Joni and Laser, Nic who is Joni's biological mother, and Jules who is Laser's biological mother. Although not exact replicas, each offspring does more closely resemble his/her biological mother in temperament. Joni and Laser are also half-siblings, having the same unknown sperm donor father. Shortly after Joni's eighteenth birthday and shortly before she plans to leave the house and head off to college, Laser, only fifteen and underage to do so, pleads with her to try and contact their sperm donor father. Somewhat ... Written by
Jules (Julianne Moore) has a tattoo on her left wrist that reads JLN. This stands either for "Jules Loves Nic" or "Joni Laser Nic". The ink can most easily be seen about twenty minutes into the film when Jules and Nic are watching "Locked Up Abroad." See more »
(at around 24 mins) While Mark Ruffalo's character is on the phone walking through his garden, a Star Waggon is very clearly seen centered in the frame behind the foliage. See more »
Entertaining story, even when not "in" for a feel-good comedy. Moving from time to time
The theater announced this movie as a feel-good comedy, which did me hesitate a bit before buying tickets. When before the TV at home, such comedies make me cringe mostly, due to over-acted family ties and an emphasis on life events that should bind people together (but not always do). However, the synopsis of this film sounded intriguing. Also, the reviews on IMDb contradicted each other heavily. The latter decided for me.
Neither the family situation nor the line of events will match everyday's and everyone's family life. But the deviation from a standard family carries the story throughout the movie, and makes up the basic ingredients for the dramatic part. I disagree with many reviewers, who have serious problems with the logic in the story. They seem to think that there is only black and white in sexual preferences, and no gray areas in between that one could try for a shorter or longer period.
The casting is convincing, and the actors are performing very well. The composition of the story is such that there is never a dull moment, and there is always some unexpected event around the corner for our entertainment.
Three sex scenes are included in the film, and one could argue that these could have been more implicit, to make it suitable for family viewing and still drive the message home what happened and what it entails for the story. On the other hand, what is actually shown on the screen is not worse than what one can stumble upon during Internet browsing or home watching TV.
The only problem I had with the story that it has a happy ending for most of the main characters, but not all. I have pity with the ones who were left more or less empty handed. They would have deserved it if they had behaved badly in some sense, but they certainly were not.
I saw this film as part of the "Deventer humor festival 2010" (Deventer is a medium sized village in The Netherlands). I don't think it had its place there, as the movie is much more dramatic than it is hilarious. I can only assume that the festival programmer had other reasons to make it part of this event. Nevertheless I have no complaints about having seen this movie, all things considered.
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