The Squid and the Whale (2005)
March 24, 2006 at 7:00 and 10:00pm in 26-100 and
March 25, 2006 at 8:00pm in 26-100.
Noah Baumbach's The Squid and the Whale is an excruciatingly humane, often hilarious portrait of a disintegrating family in mid-1980s Brooklyn. Set in the stately yet off-kilter neighborhood of Park Slope, the film tells the story of the Berkmans, a quintessentially New York family struggling to keep things together. Family patriarch Bernard (Jeff Daniels) is a published author and writing teacher whose insecurity over his own lack of recognition continues to plague him. Meanwhile, his wife, Joan (Laura Linney), is grappling with her own sense of unsettlement. Their sons, who are caught in the crossfire, express their confusion in different ways: 16-year-old Walt (Jesse Eisenberg) tries to pass off Pink Floyd's "Hey You" as his own hit in the school talent show, while his 12-year-old brother Frank (Owen Kline) begins to explore his budding sexuality. When Bernard and Joan finally decide to separate, the family must confront their unraveling situation head on.
Rarely has family dysfunction been captured so frankly and honestly as in The Squid and the Whale. Baumbach claims his film is only semi-autobiographical, but, from the pitch-perfect writing and nostalgic tone, it feels as if we're watching home videos of the writer-director's past. Featuring an outstanding pop-music soundtrack (Bert Jansch, The Feelies, Lou Reed), the film also boasts performances that seem certain to earn end-of-the-year accolades. [rottentomatoes.com]
"There's nothing fun about divorce, but The Squid and the Whale manages to wring humor from a sharp-edged, painfully real separation story that goes straight for the jugular on its way to the funny bone."
-- Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News. Read this review.