7.4/10
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The Squid and the Whale (2005)

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Follows two young boys dealing with their parents' divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 23 wins & 47 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Frank Berkman
... Bernard Berkman
... Joan Berkman
... Walt Berkman
... Ivan
David Benger ... Carl
... Lili
Molly Barton ... Graduate Student
Bo Berkman ... Graduate Student
Matthew Kaplan ... Graduate Student
Simon Kaplan ... Graduate Student
Matthew Kirsch ... Graduate Student
Daniella Markowicz ... Graduate Student
... Graduate Student
Ben Schrank ... Graduate Student
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Storyline

In 1986, In Brooklyn, New York, the dysfunctional family of pseudo intellectuals composed by the university professor Bernard and the prominent writer Joan split. Bernard is a selfish, cheap and jealous decadent writer that rationalizes every attitude in his family and life and does not accept "philistines" - people that do not read books or watch movies, while the unfaithful Joan is growing as a writer and has no problems with "philistines". Their sons, the teenager Walt and the boy Frank, feel the separation and take side: Walt stays with Bernard, and Frank with Joan, and both are affected with abnormal behaviors. Frank drinks booze and smears with sperm the books in the library and a locker in the dress room of his school. The messed-up and insecure Walt uses Roger Water's song "Hey You" in a festival as if it was of his own, and breaks up with his girlfriend Sophie. Meanwhile Joan has an affair with Frank's tennis teacher Ivan and Bernard with his student Lili. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Joint Custody Blows.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, graphic dialogue and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 December 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Historias de familia  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$279,938, 14 October 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$7,362,100, 19 March 2006
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The agency from which Bernard gets the rejection letter is ICM (International Creative Management). This is the agency of Jeff Daniels, who plays Bernard, and also of Laura Linney, who plays Joan. See more »

Goofs

Frank complains that the writing desk Bernard got for him is for a lefty. Frank is clearly a lefty, as evidenced in his eating, drinking, tennis and ping-pong play. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Frank Berkman: Mom and me versus you and Dad.
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Crazy Credits

The end credits include this dedication: "For Mannie". See more »


Soundtracks

The Swimming Song
Written and Performed by Loudon Wainwright III
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with SONY BMG Music Licensing
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
depressingly refreshing
8 November 2005 | by See all my reviews

More acutely than I've experienced in a long time, this film captures the process of personality inheritance within families. The interaction/influence between Bernard and Walt is almost painful to watch at times, but it's completely rich. Beyond just that father/son dynamic, the story is so poignant without ever getting sappy - a true accomplishment for a family drama involving divorce. Nothing hits you over the head. Nothing seems too forced. While there's plenty of confusion, discomfort, and alienation, a sense of love shines through, and I couldn't help but get attached to all of the characters. I recommend this film unconditionally.


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