The Squid and The Whale

Directed by Noah Baumbach


The Squid and The Whale
Directed by: Directed by Noah Baumbach
(American Empirical Pictures)
Noah Baumbach wrote and directed this dark comedy about a Brooklyn family going through divorce in the late 1980s based on his own childhood recollections. Baumbach is a Wes Anderson collaborator, and co-wrote The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. The movie stars Jeff Daniels, in his best role to date, as Bernard, a one-time novelist who hasn’t been able to follow up his first success. Laura Linney plays his wife, Joan, also a writer. The marriage is in its death throes when we enter the story: Joan leaves Bernard, and two sons, teenaged Walt (Jesse Eisenberg) and pre-teen Frank (Owen Kline) have to deal with the emotional fallout of joint custody on the Park Slope. The performances are sterling, the writing excellent and the laughs unexpected---when they come---but prepare yourself for a painfully intimate, squirm-inducing portrait of modern familial disfunction. The adults, especially Bernard, are smugly intellectual and manipulative, yet clueless. The boys get twisted by the experience, and lash out at their peers (including Anna Paquin and Halley Feiffer in strong support) and their parents without entirely understanding why. It’s more fun than it sounds, but not much.
—Carsten Knox

About The Author

Support The Coast

At a time when the city needs local coverage more than ever, we’re asking for your help to support independent journalism. We are committed as always to providing free access to readers, particularly as we confront the impact of COVID-19 in Halifax and beyond.

Read more about the work we do here, or consider making a donation. Thank you for your support!

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment

Poll

Did you vote in advance polls for the 2021 federal election?

Get more Halifax

Our Thursday email gets you caught up with The Coast. Sign up and go deep on Halifax.