Reviews of Greenberg
Displaying all 7 reviews
Greenberg is one of those movies that sheepishly celebrates awkwardness but with a more serious undertone and suggestions of a mental illness than similar films. What starts out to be a goof patrol following Ben Stiller as he navigates through one social eclat after the others (think Eagle vs. Shark & Napoleon Dynamite lite), steadily evolves into the discussion of Greenberg’s commitment issues (both to life in general as well as to his friends and partners). The light-hearted, humorist undertone slowly ebbs away and the film becomes grimmer and harder to digest as it goes on. Greenberg becomes a rather annoying if not alarming character and his escapades draw a fine line between the obscure and deviant. Ben Stiller does a good job but for him, playing an awkward person is a cakewalk, and will I do like Ben Stiller, I disagree with the amount of praise he is showered with because he pretty much playing the same character he plays in many of his other moves (Meet the parents, Something about Mary), albeit with more serious undertone. The supporting cast is limited to that, supporting and the film shows no interest in the other characters which is a real shame, although it fits with the overall focus on Greenberg’s social isolaton, so I won’t hold that against the movie. Overall, I give Kudos to filmmaker’s how try to explore core human topics in tender movies, but I found Greenberg a bit too slow and lacking any content, I do not feel that the movie makes a statement at all, but it is far to manufactured and processed to be fly on the wall type of thing. I would have prepared for Greenberg to go crash against the wall of his isolation in order to topicalize his mental instability to a more sufficient and sharp degree, Instead the movie goes in many directions without going anywhere.
- Currently 2.0/5 Stars.
If you haven’t seen Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere yet, you probably have seen the trailer. As “I’ll Try Anything Once” fits perfectly to the film, the same goes to “Please Don’t Follow Me” and Greenberg. James Murphy’ song couldn’t translate better Noah Baumbach’s movie. “Going, ou… read moret, going out. Please don’t follow me, because the way we met. Please don’t follow me, because of the way that you act”. Simple, sweet, melancholic. I’m sure sweet is not the proper word to describe it, but I love how honest and real the characters and situations are.
Without artifices, without huge happenings, Greenberg is as simple and “slow down” as life is. I wouldn’t say Noah Baumbach is the new Woody Allen, but they sure share some similarities beyond the fact both were born in Brooklyn and have a taste for “neurotic intellectual characters”. Los Angeles has a central role as New York does in Manhattan or both New York and Los Angeles in Annie Hall. Roger Greenberg feels so uncomfortable as Alvy Singer felt in LA, but he lacks of what I might say it’s is the main difference between Allen’s and Baumbach’s characters: a certain lightness . Allen’s are enjoyable neurotic people, when Baumbach’s are mostly painful, like Margot and Bernard Berkman. However, I don’t see Greenberg like the jerk depressing guy or whatever everyone is saying. He’s only vulnerable , incapable of taking part in life, in a life he didn’t plan on : “Are you pulling a Gatsby and watching the party from afar?”, Ivan asks. “l don’t know that l need to document the reasons how this isn’t like a Gatsby”, says Roger. It’s hard to look back and admit you did the wrong choice, to embrace a life that is very far from what you expected. It’s hard to be lost between an “adult and responsible” life all your friends are living and a new world where you don’t seem to fit in.
“Are you kids really different from me? l mean, do the movies, and the iPods, and the facility with MySpace pages make you guys really different? Every article l read seems to be saying that. (…) The thing about you kids is you’re all kind of insensitive. There’s a confidence in you guys that’s horrifying. l’m freaked out by you kids. I hope l die before l end up meeting one of you in a job interview”.
I’m freaked out by those kids too and there’s not even 10 years aparting us. There’s definitely a confidence in them that’s horrifying, but horrifying for being such an empty, meaningless generation. But ,hopefully, there’s a happy medium. Florence is a sort of lost-somehow lonely- but full of life adorable young woman. She is not a complex or that interesting character, but she’s so refreshing that is impossible to not like her. Greta Gerwig has such a lively and natural acting that she catches you in the first scenes, driving to the Greenberg’s. There’s something really nice about her and Florence definitely has a lot of Annie Hall. Like Allen’s film is not only about Annie, Greenberg is not only about Roger, but if Annie “only exists” attached to Alvy (we only see her life without him, ex boyfriends, etc, through/because of him), Florence lives beyond Roger. The film opens with her and closes with him, in a very lovely scene (despite the title, both are main characters). She does bring life to his boredom, but not exactly in the common meaning of that saying: even if not purposely, she helps him to face himself. Hurt people hurt people, but some of us still can love them.
*F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, also mentioned in The Squid and the Whale, must really had been an important book to Baumbach. How much biographical is The Squid and the Whale? Or maybeBaumbach feels himself as Gatsby?
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
Me atrevería a decir que Greenberg es, probablemente, mi película favorita del 2010. Creo que maneja bien el tono entre drama y comedia sin estridencias. Ben Stiller me sorprendió por bordar un papel bastante sobrio a lo que nos tiene habituados. Creo que muchas personas podrán identificarse con sus problemas para relacionarse con los demás y su lado misántropo. Sin embargo, la revelación de la película es Greta Gerwig, una chica que lleva sobre sus hombros las escenas más conmovedoras y agridulces de la película. En definitiva, una película que pasó casi inadvertida y definitivamente merece ser vista.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
Noah Baumbach’s work outside of The Squid and The Whale has been painfully mediocre. In the past Baumbach has fancied himself a hipster Ingmar Bergman which has worked in the Wes Anderson wheelhouse (The Squid and The Whale_) and has failed miserably in others (_Margot at the Wedding). With Greenberg, Baumbach has instead decided to go in the direction of mumblecore directors like Joel Swanberg, producing an analysis of omega males with Greenberg a la Swanberg with big stars. Greenberg is better realized than, say, Hannah Takes the Stairs (also starring Greta Gerwig), but it still wallows in Baumbach’s narcissism. Thankfully Ben Stiller gives an excellent performance that sees him actually acting as opposed to cashing a paycheck (see the trailer for Little Fockers to watch Stiller make a trip to the bank teller). The way he writes letters and analyzes everyone’s actions while actively contributing nothing to society makes for a good commentary on the modern male population. It’s just a shame the overall narrative doesn’t well serve Stiller’s performance.
- Currently 2.0/5 Stars.
“Greenberg” is about a man who is trying to find his place in the world after dismal
outcomes has led him to the brink of suicide. After leaving a mental hospital he excepts the responsibility of housesitting his successful brothers home while he is in the Orient. Ben Stiller is excellent in his portrayal of Greenberg,an unsympathetic character on the surface but on further retrospection just a damaged soul trying to make restitution. Greenberg starts a relationship with an equally troubled woman that is employed by his brother. This on and off love affair reveals the pain and support both characters need to function as normal adults. Greenberg’s interactions with old friends and strangers is also revealing on how he ticks. Greenberg has to learn to like himself before he can progress.The honesty and bravery of this script was refreshing. I highly recommend this mature adult film.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
This film is another victim of me getting my hope up before watching it. Then being disappointed with the results when I first saw the preview I figured I could wait for video but with critics raving about the film it moved up to must see status. But by the end of watching it I felt defeated.
I think this would have made a very interesting book more then film. Where as the film has great material to work with it just didn’t work out for me. The character Ben Stiller plays seems to be a catalyst or maybe a surrogate for the neurotic feelings the writer director Noah Baumbach feels in life but buries in normal life, but I’m no psychiatrist. I only say this because throughout the film he refuses to make Greenberg seem wrong or a complete villian he treats him with kid gloves almost.
On the plus side the film seemed to be true to life as much as life has highs and lows and at times can be slow. That is how the film moved it was dull at times but then would have a really good poignant scene then there would be a scene that had no point.
I understand the main character played by Ben Stiller is supposed to be some type of anti-hero who refuses to take responsibility but the film gives you clues as to why, but he is such a jerk it’s really hard to like him nonetheless root for him in any way. He is a funny character but easily hateful. It’s hard to root for a selfish character who believes he is really looking out for everyone. He is witty though
The writing in the film is witty, but I feel if it was a book it would have better explored and explained the situations and characters.
The film at times tries to be subtle bit other times seems to beat you over the head. The real saving grace of the film are the characters played by Rhys Ifans as Ben Stiller’s sympathetic friend who he was in a band with years ago who almost had a record deal but blew it thanks to Greenberg. He is a sad sack but gives his character so much depth that you feel for him and wish he could get happier. Then there is Gerta Gerwig’s character who you wish could be in another film she is interesting as a sad sack of a character who has no self esteem or confidence as she is willing to be any man who shows interest plaything a sex toy.
Of course that leads the main characters onto some sort of messed up romance that seems to keep starting and stopping as he seems attracted to her then disgusted by her or the fact that she would be interested in him as he starts a hopeless attempt to try and get his ex back but runs to Gerta’s character as he literally need her since the film is set in California and he doesn’t drive.
The film feels like a L.A. movie even though the writer director Noah Boambach is based in New York the film seems to portray and show a breezy almost hippieish existence while having the only real neurotic character be the New York based Greenberg it would have also been interesting if the film showed the way Greenburg had to get used to life on the different coast.
I will Give Ben Stiller credit he shows range in a dramatic role who is very negative but shows emotional depth along the way.
The Two stars of the movie are actually replacements the original stars were supposed to be Mark Ruffalo who dropped out due to a family tragedy and then Amy Adams dropped out though as good as Ms. Gerwig is in the role I would have preferred to se Amy Adams in this role if only so the film LEAP Year would not have been made.
The film is also disappointing as I have been a fan of Mr. Baumbach since his debut with the film KICKING & SCREAMING. This film and the one previous MARGOT AT THE WEDDING have been disappointing as his films are still vastly different and original then most films out there and feel like they are straight out of the 70’s it also seems like he is very conscious of that fact and the films come off as quasi personal but also like he is trying to hard to showcase his talents but trying to be subtle. Instead he should just make the film and worry about stylistic touches later and my piece of advice event though they show they can put there money where there mouth is, Maybe stop casting Big box office comedians as the stars of your films. But all in all I do like your style.
The story of the film is, While his brother is away on vacation with his family Greenberg comes out from New York to house sit and dog sit after being released from a mental hospital due to a nervous breakdown. He begins a friendship/romance with his brother’s persona; assistant while trying to build a doghouse and catching up with his old friends and there families. He spends much of the time also writing angry letters of complaints to companies.
- Currently 2.0/5 Stars.
Noah Baumbach takes his inspiration from Woody Allen and Eric Rohmer one step further with this smart, realistic character study of human relationships and their ever changing awkwardness. Ben Stiller is just on the right side of irritating as the titular hero, a 41 year old coming off of a nervous breakdown; when he arrives back in L.A. after a fifteen year absence, he finds his former friends have all changed, or maybe they just don’t like him, except a 25-year-old girl with terrible insecurity issues. The girl is played by Greta Gerwig, who I’ve never seen before, and she brings a wonderful real-girl sensitivity to the part, which is tricky, because she has to like this guy when everything he does says to not, and to the actors and Baumbach’s credit, we finally believe that there might be redemption at the end of the tunnel in the form of this incongruous relationship, and that makes a darkly funny, somewhat sad film, a real joy.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.