Monday, December 12, 2005

The Squid and the Whale

Directed by Noah Baumbach.

This was an excellent film from an unkown source. I didnt' even realize until the ending credits that it was produced by Wes Anderson, but it made sense. This is a movie about a crumbling marriage that results in a separation. The two young suns, Walt and Frank choose sides in the dispute, with Walt opting for his pretentious father Bernard, a literary critic, and Frank choosing his mother Joan, an up and coming writer. Bernard is hilarious- he refers to A Tale of Two Cities as minor Dickens, and calls Kafka "one of his predecessors". His self-indulgent pretensions are so powerful they cause his young son Walt to claim credit for writing Pink Floyd's "Hey You".
The movie is hysterical. Jeff Daniel's plays the over the top failure of a professor note perfect, and watching the two sons deal with the divorce using a combination of profanity and sexual activity is compelling. Laura Linney, rarely anything less than excellent, and excellent even in underwritten stereotypical roles (Primal Fear anyone?) shines in this movie, particularly when she takes up the company of Ivan (well acted by WILLIAM BALDWIN- never thought I'd write that). Ivan is the local tennis pro. Bernard never can understand what she sees in Ivan- but what she and Frank see is not Bernard, and thats good enough for them. I cannot recommend this film enough-it was very funny and very painful. I'd stop short of saying that you should see it because it did well at Sundance; that's the sort of thing Bernard would say, unless he found Sundance to be "a trifle" compared to some tiny screening house in France that constantly runs Bertolucci.


Blogger ronvon2 noted on 12/12/2005 07:49:00 PM that...

This made AFI's list of top ten films of 2005 (Also 40 Year-Old Virgin made it). All the reviews of it echo your sentiments. We'll be sure to check it out.