After watching the similarly themed Meyerowitz, I gave Baumbach's feature debut a first watch since it came out. It holds up more than well, even accumulating greater depth with the work that has come after it. Daniels is but the first of frustrated father artists in Baumbach's films and Eisenberg and Klein are excellent as the siblings who choose sides in the divorce. Improbably funny too.
This film just makes me so angry. A credit-worthy Jeff Daniels plays the asshole father to a T here, but watching his and Eisenberg's characters expound their toxic, masculine bullshit made me want to smash the TV. For 80 minutes we're faced with this white-washed farce of unnecessary conflict and egotism, that panders and preaches on divorce in such a self-righteous fashion that it becomes mostly unbearable.
This was a painful film for me to watch. My parents divorced in my 20s (although not as bitterly as Linney and Daniels) and it deeply scarred me. I recognized/was too familiar with the way Walt and Frank carried themselves emotionally in the film, even though I didn't do exactly what they did. Normally, I'd give this 5 stars, but because it was so personally painful for me to watch it gets 4 stars. Excellent film.