Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Drama The Squid and the Whale

The Squid and the Whale

“The Squid and the Whale” stars Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, and Owen Kline. It’s written and directed by Noah Baumbach and based on the true life experiences of Noah Baumbach and his brother.

“The Squid and the Whale” centers on the life of two boys dealing with the divorce of their parents in Brooklyn during the 1980’s. Bernard Berkman (Jeff Daniels)is married to Joan Berkman (Laura Linney), who he believes is always being “difficult”. Stuck between the issue are two sons, Frank (Owen Kline) and Walt (Jesse Eisenberg), who feel obligated to choose a side. Both become affected with unnatural behaviors that lead to counseling.

This powerful true life story about a dysfunctional family has some engaging moments, though most of those moments are not happy ones. It received an Oscar nod for it’s remarkable script, but failed to beat Best Picture Winner “Crash”. Stellar performances from each and every actor and actress. I really have a soft spot for films that portray real life situations with such a powerful dose of acting. This is purely a drama, just a warning for those who don’t care for the type of movies that involve heavy true life situations. The top-notch script is what most will be raving about.

This is one of those movies that will have you thinking a lot once it ends. Noah Baumbach, who wrote the terribly incomprehensible “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou”, creates a film worth watching more than once to get the full feeling of the movie. The music is a mix between Pink Floyd and it’s own quirky melodies that help the movie stand on it’s own level of uniqueness. If it wasn’t for the truly convincing performances from no particular actor/actress, I would’ve found this a vulgar and unwatchable movie experience.

This isn’t a feel good movie, but a feel bad movie done very, very well. The situations some of the characters are involved in are unsanitary, yet captivating. The ending was incomplete for me, but worked very well. This movie is what many call “Critic Proof”, meaning that it is very hard to dislike such a great movie. If you are tired of movies that aren’t worth your time, please watch “The Squid and the Whale”.

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