Last night I saw one of the year’s best films–The Squid and the Whale–which is a deeply saddening film about the consequences of divorce and joint custody on children.
Noah Baumbach first got my attention in 1995 with a delightfully rowdy comedy about college and dating called Kicking and Screaming. He also co-wrote The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou for Wes Anderson. The guy has a thing for telling honest and poignant stories about love, ego, and broken families.
Here, has brought to life a severely dysfunctional family: foul-mouthed, selfish, sexually misbehaving, and almost entirely naive when it comes to love. The result is often unpleasant and sometimes downright painful, in the same way that Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm was painful. But it’s funny, convincing, and full of passion. You can tell that Baumbach needs to tell this story. And the result is a memorable and meaningful picture.
It also features what I believe to be the best performance of Jeff Daniels’ career. You’ve never seen him do anything like it.
For discerning adults only. The parents swear like they’re trying to break some kind of record, and thus their kids follow in kind.
My full review will be up late tomorrow, and I’ll cover it in CT’s Film Forum as well.
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I’ll give you a run-down of the show on Thursday.