With excruciating honesty, Noah Baumbach’s acclaimed third feature—which marked a turn toward an increasingly personal style—chronicles the experiences of two young brothers growing up in 1980s Park Slope, Brooklyn, as they navigate the jagged contours of the divorce of their parents, both writers.
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A prickly, well-written, excellently-acted little familial drama from Noah Baumbach (who would go on to do prickly, well-written, etc. familial dramas Margot at the Wedding and Greenberg). Jesse Eisenberg and Jeff Daniels are the highlights, but Laura Linney's overlooked performance is brilliant as well.
Divorce isn't awesome, but this movie certainly is. Despite the headcase moments from the parents and the kids, this is a movie that shows a deep affection for its characters, with their petty grievances, foibles and all in full view. It's tough to love your family sometimes, but "The Squid and The Whale" shows that even the most dysfunctional families can come together at times when it absolutely matters.
Sometimes I think Baumbach's "honesty" is really the complete opposite. Instead of being realistic, it's quite an extreme dramatization of character... but maybe that's just because I've never met people who speak like the characters in his movies. At any rate, his films are growing on me, and I hope to fully connect with this film upon my next viewing.
Laura Linney = always amazing.
UPDATE: I did.