|
Movies Books Music Food Tv Shows Technology Politics Video Games Parenting Fashion Green Living more >

Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » The Squid and the Whale » User review

The Squid and the Whale

A movie directed by Noah Baumbach

< read all 6 reviews

Moby Movie

  • Apr 22, 2006
  • by
Rating:
+3
Freedom is loved and desired. However, in "The Squid and the Whale," freedom is showcased with a family where everyone is doing (mostly) what he or she wants, and everyone is miserable. Reeling on separation and an inevitable divorce, the father (Jeff Daniels) and the mother (Laura Linney) are writers. (The father's work is waning, so he works as a professor.) In this household, the separation leaves two boys, an older adolescent, Walt (Jesse Eisenberg) and a coming-of-age adolescent, Frank (Owen Kline) with the fallout, each working out his own loyalties and feelings. The arrangement of joint-custody initially works well for the parents, but leaves the boys hurt and confused. The angst of their emotions comes out in vivid ways: The older boy enters a talent contest stealing a Pink Floyd song; the younger boy leaves personal fluids smeared on library shelves. (All of the poignant parent-to-school-official scenes show the father's denial and cluelessness.) The parents act out their whims and give the boys little sense of stability--in their lives and in their relationships. Walt seems to see nothing wrong with his plagiarism and is deluded despite his understandable desire to have a meaningful relationship with his girlfriend.

Nevertheless, the movie offers glimmers of hope. The music, especially "Hey You" by Pink Floyd and a Lou Reed song from his "Street Hassle" album couldn't be topped for evoking feelings of alienation and loneliness, yet they provide, like the movie itself, healing beauty for the characters and viewers. The acting is genuine and natural, and the story is presented in a haunting way. It is a disturbing film with some thoughtful observations about holding on to the best of what life offers no matter what is handed to you.

What did you think of this review?

Helpful
0
Thought-Provoking
0
Fun to Read
0
Well-Organized
0
Post a Comment
More The Squid and the Whale reviews
review by . October 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Squid and the Whale is an ensemble piece whose main adjective is spoken by Bernard Berkman (Jeff Daniels): difficult.      The marriage between Bernard and Joan (Laura Linney) disintegrates. Common enough. What is uncommon is that both of them have Ph. D.’s in Literature, so, if nothing else, it’s pretty obvious that the language of the broken dynamic will be . . . difficult. The victims (and they are victims) are the two boys: Walt (Jesse Eisenberg) and Frank …
review by . January 02, 2009
DVD
Bernard (Jeff Daniels) was once a successful novelist; now he's a stuffy, patronizing college professor. His wife Joan (Laura Linney) has been learning to write and has just published her first novel. And she's been having multiple love affairs for years. The two separate and the battle over the kids begins. Big brother Walt idolizes his father and hates his mother, but mostly just wants a girlfriend. 12-year old Frank sides with Mom and has some major problems of his own.     This …
review by . March 23, 2006
Noah Baumbach makes an impressive debut as writer/director of his autobiographical story THE SQUID AND THE WHALE. It is a piece of life sliced out of the 1980s that is just as pertinent to today's culture as it was to the period piece Baumbach resurrects.    Bernard Berkman (Jeff Daniels) is a shell of a being, a once famous writer who is now living as an unctuous teacher while his wife Joan (Laura Linney) is rising in fame as a novelist. Their marriage is obviously tired: 17 …
review by . January 05, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
"The Squid and the Whale" is a movie that shows us something we'd rather not see: The ugly side of divorce. I've always been fascinated with the way Hollywood portrays divorce. They never really portray it as something that is truly horrible, just as a "touch luck/too bad" thing that happens to many people. In other words, divorce is a part of human nature, and you might as well get used to it. Of course, people who have been effected by divorce will tell you otherwise. The fact that so many divorcees …
review by . November 14, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: acting, humor, realism, characters     Cons: a couple of unrealistic details     The Bottom Line: "Joint custody blows."      Philistine: 1. A smug, ignorant, especially middle-class person who is regarded as being indifferent or antagonistic to artistic and cultural values.    2. One who lacks knowledge in a specific area.         Bernard Berkman is the kind of man who tries to beat his 12-year-old …
About the reviewer
John L. Peterson ()
Ranked #99
I am a substitute teacher who enjoysonline reviewing. Skiing is my favorite pastime; weight training and health are my obsessions;and music and movies feed my psyche. Books are a treasure and a pleasure … more
Consider the Source

Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.

You
JP_Rocky_Raccoon
Your ratings:
rate more to improve this
About this movie

Wiki

The Squid and the Whalefollows the divorce of Joan (Laura Linney,You Can Count on Me) and Bernard Berkman (Jeff Daniels,The Purple Rose of Cairo) as it wreaks havoc on the emotional lives of their two sons, Walt (Jesse Eisenberg,Roger Dodger) and Frank (Owen Kline,The Anniversary Party). Though there's no plot in the usual sense, the movie progresses with growing emotional force from the separation into the bitter fighting between Joan and Bernard and the hapless, floundering behavior of Walt and Frank, who act out through plagiarism, sexual acts, and drinking. Some viewers may find the ending too diffuse; others will appreciate that writer/director Noah Baumbach (Mr. Jealousy) doesn't wrap up the messiness of life in a false cinematic package. Either way, viewers will appreciate how the specificity of the personalities makesThe Squid and the Whaleso compelling, as Baumbach has drawn the characters with such detail, both engaging and off-putting, that they leap off the screen. Naturally, he's greatly helped by the cast: Linney, Eisenberg, Kline, and especially Daniels bite into these often unsympathetic portraits and give fearlessly honest performances, interlocked in both painful and funny ways--rarely have family dynamics been captured so vividly. If there was an ensemble Oscar, this cast would deserve it.--Bret Fetzer
view wiki

Details

Director: Noah Baumbach
Genre: Drama
Release Date: October 5, 2005
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Noah Baumbach
DVD Release Date: March 21, 2006
Runtime: 81 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
© 2014 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
()
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since
reviews
comments
ratings
questions
compliments
lists