Margot at the Wedding Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ December 6, 2013
I usually like Noah Baumbach's dialogue so much that I'm able to overlook his films' meandering pace and unlikeable characters. I could not forgive this one, however, both because the dialogue isn't as consistently sharp and because the overall structure is unmercifully dull. Though Jack Black's show-stealing performance reaffirms Baumbach's ability to maximize the humor he can get out of his misanthropes, the same is not true for the anti-hero played by Nicole Kidman. She plays her role efficiently, but gives absolutely no humanity to the part as Black does, and as Jeff Daniels and Ben Stiller have in the writer/director's other, better films.
Super Reviewer
October 18, 2010
This film is in my favorite genre: dark humored, pointless, character driven films. Noah Baumbach is one of my favorite writer/directors, and in this story of a strung out writer at her sister's wedding and all the family dysfunction that goes along with it, the film writes itself with its strong characters and gritty pretense. The storyline isn't all too original, but the performances from these actors are driving, unflinching, and realistic. Nicole Kidman has never been so unlikable and flighty as she is in this film. She is narrow minded of her sister, who is marrying a dilettante (Jack Black) who Margot deems unfit for her. There is also a sensitive past between the two sisters and their family, intensified by the fact that Margot's sister (Jennifer Jason Leigh) currently lives in the old family house. There is a bitter honesty between the siblings but also a kind of magic realism, as their lives are slowly unearthed to one another after all these years. Kidman especially stirs the pot between the factions of the family with her commentary on her sister's fiance, their past, and the fact that all her writing is autobiographical and has ruined her sister's first marriage, alienated her from her family, and caused a rift in her own marriage, also caused by an affair with an egotistical ass. What is really striking about these interrelationships is that of the children, especially Margot's son, who she repeatedly self-diagnoses as having Asperger's and when she wants to be nice describes him as an artistic soul. Her son seems spoiled, yet that may seem the case because he speaks of things he knows little about with his cousin and family friend, but when he speaks to his mother she either undermines what he thinks and feels as childish blather, or intellectual hierarchy supplemented by her own particular parenting style. Even though it is strangely pointless throughout, I think the ending is supposed to be uplifting, as Margot is trying to stop her reckless behavior and reconnect with her family. Still, there is nothing pseudo intellectual about this character study or bombastic from Jack Black's performance as the light comedy. It has some simple realism, but really it's about family, and the lengths we go to protect ourselves from the only people who know us best.
Super Reviewer
½ February 18, 2011
Nicole Kidman has fleshed out some excellent roles throughout her career in some great films, namely; "To Die For" "Dogville" and most recently "Rabbit Hole" but this is also one for her vintage collection of characters.
She plays moderately successful novelist Margot Zeller who has taken her son Claude (Zane Pais) to sister Pauline's (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who's about to marry drifting artist Malcolm (Jack Black). While relations appear cordial, it becomes clear, as the wedding looms, that Margot's prime talent is for upsetting people.
This quirky heartfelt drama will certainly not appeal to everyone but if you appreciate sharp writing and realistic well drawn characters, then look no further. This is a film that has quality from all angles just coursing through it. Writer/Director Noah Baumbach's attention to detail and ear for dialogue is just so sharp and natural and it's perfectly delivered by an exceptionally good cast. I normally avoid the highly irritating Jack Black but have to admit he was excellently used. His comic ability has never been used as effectively as it is here but it's the serious side to his character that is most appealing, of which he also delivers. Zane Pais is brilliant for such a young actor and I'm very surprised we haven't seen more from him recently, but the acting plaudits must go to Kidman for her fabulous depiction of a bitter and thoughtless neurotic who causes harm to everyone around her. It stands as probably my favourite performance from her so far. She is simply superb as the beating heart behind a very disfunctional family.
Baumbach reminds me of a more serious Wes Anderson in his subtle yet very detailed writing and after seeing this and the class of "The Squid and The Whale", I think I've found another director to keep a very close eye on. A real treat. Next stop "Greenberg".
Super Reviewer
½ February 3, 2011
I really liked The Squid and the Whale and so was really looking forward to this but I have to say, I'm disappointed. I liked the cast, every performance was first rate - even though that did mean that they all played 'annoying' rather well. You know a film isn't great when Jack Black is the light relief though and as well shot as this film is, it's also very shallow and devoid of worth. I'm a firm believer that films don't necessarily have to have a point but I do think they should be at least entertaining if they don't. And what the hell is the obsession with young boys masturbating? Stop it, just stop it! The Squid and the Whale was a great film but Margot at the Wedding gives Independent American cinema a bad name in my book. Only worth watching for the ever wonderful Jennifer Jason Leigh in my opinion!
Super Reviewer
½ January 29, 2011
Margot played by Nicole Kidman reminds me of a girl I once dated from Boston College, I was doing a crossword puzzle and I asked her how to spell elephant, and she replied elephant e l e p h a n t elephant, that's a third grade word. My reply was good f-&^ing bye a 2nd grade word. That story pretty much sums up the overall story of Margot, a very rude bitc* who travels to her sisters wedding and finds nothing but fault with everything and everybody. The only good thing about this movie it was filmed where I grew up Eastern LI. Margot 1 1/2 stars a flashback I didnt need.
Super Reviewer
July 21, 2009
Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jack Black, Zane Pais, Flora Cross, John Turturo


Margot Zeller, a savagely bright, razor-tongued short-story writer who creates chaos wherever she goes, sets off on a surprise journey to the wedding of her estranged and free-spirited, unassuming sister Pauline. Margot, with her all-too-rapidly maturing son Claude in tow, arrives with the gale force of a hurricane. From the minute she meets Pauline's fiancÚ--the unemployed artist Malcolm--Margot starts to plant seeds of doubt about the union. As the wedding approaches, one complication crashes into the next: vengeful neighbors, a beloved tree in the backyard and Margot's own marital turmoil. The two sisters, find themselves at the precipice of an unexpected transformation ultimately revealing that even when your family is about to implode, the one thing you can cling to for solace and comfort is your imploding family.

One of the best performances I have seen by Nicole Kidman in a long time. I liked the movie a lot. It has some funny moments, but definitely not a comedy. It's really dark. The story is light but when you take in some of the things these sister's are saying about their past, you see just exactly how gritty the movie is. I find it a bit sad actually. There is more to the story the more you think about the things these two sisters are saying. The sisters seem to hate but love and admire each other all at the same time. They can say the harshest things to each other and then follow it with a compliment. It's bizarre, but yet has truth to the way sibling relationships are. I can relate at least. Which I am not sure if that is good or not. But I like how honest the characters are with each other, even when it is hurtful. Margot at times says some awful things to her son. But yet he craved for her attention and her thoughts. Pauline is more of a kinder spirit, but just as screwed up as Margot. Both Pauline and Margot's moods are very changeable and you never know where their moods, or reactions will take you. It's very interesting to watch. Definitely one that should be watched. Nicole and Jennifer both give fantastic performances. Was pleasantly surprised by Jack Black's acting in this movie. Thought he was amazing and seemed to fit the role perfectly. I see not a lot of people liked this movie, and I can just assume from how dark and emotionally gritty this movie is that this movie may not be everyones cup of tea. But I liked it very much and hope more will see it. Baumbach seems to make these movies about these dysfunctional families and air out all their dirty laundry sort of speak. Makes me feel like I am invading someones privacy in both film's I have watched of his. Which is why he is brilliant. He makes you feel as though these characters are real. Helps that these are things real families go through but that no one wants to talk about. Very raw material. Love his work.
Super Reviewer
½ November 17, 2007
Margot at the Wedding is a lot like the character of Margot herself--sometimes funny, often random, frequently pretentious, at times loathsome but mostly batshit crazy. Noah Baumbach relies on a lot of the random and fucked up conversations and situations that made his previous film, The Squid and the Whale so fantastic but he also puts forth so much effort into making the characters quirky and the movie unconventional that you don't really get a movie, just a bunch of parts put together. Not a bad performance in sight and overall enjoyable. Margot at the Wedding is a tad jagged as its younger characters are unrealistically wise (or maybe just quirky) beyond their years and the adults' wisdom is just stunted. So everyone's on the same playing field in that respect. Don't expect most of the storylines to go anywhere as most themes introduced never really get touched upon again, but prepare to see Jack Black's naked ass and Nicole Kidman masturbating. For whatever its worth...
Super Reviewer
½ January 23, 2009
Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jack Black all turn in excellent performances in this sleeper hit. Not a good one to try to "escape" with: though it's a great movie with authentic characters and events, and very realistic, it's just so depressing. Definitely worth watching, as the great theme of over-diagnosis comes home to roost, playing havoc on the whole family as they prepare for the titular wedding. Just be prepared, it will ruin your evening.
Super Reviewer
February 9, 2008
"Margot at the Wedding" is, in no way, an easy movie for people to watch and it's definitely a movie that everyone will have a violent reaction to. For me, the reaction was positive, I found the film terribly distressing but overall, really well done. My friends, on the other hand, despised the film. To each his own I guess.

The movie follows the story of Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and the days preceding her marriage to her unemployed artist boyfriend Malcolm (Jack Black). Her sister Margot (Nicole Kidman) has abandoned her husband Jim (John Turturro), from whom she will soon separate for good, for the weekend and she has brought her overly intelligent and slightly odd son Claude (Zane Pais) along with her. Hilarity ensues. Kind of.

I thought that the film was well-made, funny (sometimes), uncomfortable (all the time), and very easy to react to. In other words, exactly what Baumbach wanted. Not at all a light evening at the movies, but certainly an interesting, debatable one for those who are into that sort of thing.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2008
Great cast struggle with a direction less meander through bourgeois ennui with little new to say in a tired genre. Kidman makes the best of an unbelievable character but the dynamics of all the relationships don't ring true, feeling artfully contrived.
Super Reviewer
September 4, 2008
A little too artsy. I'm normally okay with static character arcs but there were a few symbolic clues that hinted at resolution but were either dropped or too ambiguous to further.
Super Reviewer
July 26, 2008
A total character study borefest. With an a-list actor group and a good filmmaker my hopes were a lot higher but sadly it failed.

The acting was mediocre at best and the script was not so interesting. Jack Black brought some comedy to the film but even though I love the fella, I can't say that he fitted the part. Felt like all of the actors were half asleep but there wasn't that much heart in their performances.

I think that the filmmakers tried too much to make a thought provocing film but I've seen so many similar films made better that I really can't recommend this to everyone.
Super Reviewer
½ June 22, 2008
Not a bad story about daring funny and bracingly honest exploration of the tender, absurd and sometimes excruciating relationship between siblings. And the performances from Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh are excellent.
Super Reviewer
January 20, 2008
I like Baumbach, I think he does his own original thing and sometimes it works but sometimes it doesn't but I'm always, I don't know, interested to see what happens no matter how boring the movie gets. His originality saves this movie from becoming a failure, and by detecting the glimmers of genius beneath the massive heap of failure sort of made it all worth watching.
Super Reviewer
½ April 5, 2008
I liked it but it's really not a great movie. Margot Zeller, a savagely bright, razor-tongued short-story writer who creates chaos wherever she goes, sets off on a surprise journey to the wedding of her estranged and free-spirited, unassuming sister Pauline. Margot, with her all-too-rapidly maturing son Claude in tow, arrives with the gale force of a hurricane. From the minute she meets Pauline's fiancÚ the unemployed artist Malcolm Margot starts to plant seeds of doubt about the union. As the wedding approaches, one complication crashes into the next: vengeful neighbors, a beloved tree in the backyard and Margot's own marital turmoil. The two sisters, find themselves at the precipice of an unexpected transformation ultimately revealing that even when your family is about to implode, the one thing you can cling to for solace and comfort is your imploding family.
Super Reviewer
½ March 28, 2008
"You shit in your shoes and then you fuck them!"
Super Reviewer
½ March 26, 2008
Too dark... I didn't get some of the comedy, but it was funny at times... Nicole Kidman is great... John Turturro is good in his brief role... Jack Black and Jennifer Jason Leigh were pretty good, but i noticed something about their performances: they can't cry! The scenes where they cry are SO fake! Anyways, the kid playing Margot's son is really BAD and he's so sexually ambiguous it's frightening...The direction and editing could have been better... The writing was OK... Weird movie, and the character of "Margot" is too fucked up, i mean, it's too much!
Super Reviewer
½ March 8, 2008
Nicole Kidman plays the biggest realistic B*tch I have ever scene in a movie. Jack Black was really great, especially when he gets beaten up. Noah Baumbach always seems to put really disturbing scenes in his movie, and this is no exception. Awesome characters, and several bouts of dialog that is so odd you'll laugh out loud. "Everyone poops their pants, not just babies. You'll do it too someday."
Super Reviewer
½ February 10, 2008
What are grown up trust fund babies so depressed about? I liked Jack Black's performance and the way it was shot, but Kidman's character was unbearable.
Super Reviewer
½ September 23, 2007
Contrary to what everyone else seemingly thinks about MARGOT AT THE WEDDING, I found it to be both interesting and engaging.
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