Margot at the Wedding Reviews
November 15, 2014
Review In A Nutshell:
After seeing both Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha and The Squid and the Whale, I expected Margot at the Wedding to be well crafted and impacting film; especially given its amazing cast. Sadly the film does not meet those soaring expectations, but it did not completely underwhelm me either. There are certainly a number of positive elements in the film, and those were enough to keep me entertained and sticking it out with complete attention, all the way through.
The premise involves Margot coming back to her old home, along with her son Claude, to attend to her sister's wedding. Through this visit, issues and conflicting perspectives begin to arise, filling the atmosphere with tension and drama. I was immediately drawn into the characters of the film, regardless if their personalities come off as unlikeable. Margot's criticizing and "honest" nature makes her such a fascinating individual, and watching her affect the people around her, and without even a hint of understanding to the adverse effects of her actions. Though the film makes it clear that Margot is the damaged one, the rest of the characters are not as perfect as they seem. Pauline and Malcolm also carry their own set of baggage, but Baumbach does not pile it on to its audience, just as much as he does with Margot. As the film progresses, we see more of these characters as the constant clash of personalities forces them to act in ways that they normally wouldn't. The film also gives the time to explore Margot's relationship with her son and husband, and how her personality and her current situation affect them; I was constantly thinking about the structure and dynamic of her relationships, and why she is the way she is.
The film does not give away any easy answers about its characters, but it also fails to even address even the slightest on its purpose. Why does Baumbach want us to watch this story unfold? The previous two films I have seen from Baumbach demonstrated a sense purpose to their storylines; Frances Ha exploring the difficulties of pursuing passion over security, whilst also creating a sense of homage to the individuals that have inspired Baumbach in his filmmaking career. The Squid and the Whale explores the difficulties of divorce, told through the perspectives of each member of that once-nuclear family and honestly exposing personal aspects of Baumbach's own childhood. This film barely brings anything and because of that, I was left disappointed and slightly confused.
The film thankfully saves itself from inadequacy due to the performances that the cast has brought to Baumbach's lovely characters. Nicole Kidman, who plays Margot, was wonderful in this; granted far from her best, but even her worst is better than any average actor could bring in their best days. Kidman has proven to the public that she is a serious actress and is willing to let herself be guided by a variety of filmmakers; her career spans from directors like Stanley Kubrick and Baz Luhrmann to Lars von Trier and Jonathan Glazer. This is a woman who can even bring layers to roles that are superficially and generically written. Margot is a complex individual and when under the hands of a different actress, the film may feel different. Jennifer Jason Leigh as Margot's sister, Pauline, was also strong in this, with multiple scenes demonstrating that Leigh has the ability to keep with Kidman's intensity and create internally chaotic but effective chemistry. Jack Black so far has only impressed me when under the hands of Richard Linklater, Bernie and School of Rock, but it shows here that he is also amazing when under Baumbach's direction. Black certainly acts out ragingly in a couple of scenes, but it feels different to his usual trademarks; it feels more composed and delivering a better comic timing.
Margot at the Wedding feels uninspired and aimless. Baumbach had written wonderful characters and bestowed upon a wonderful cast but fails to deliver a story that utilises them. The film on its own is not a failure, but standing against the rest of Baumbach's filmography shows just how much of a misfire Margot at the Wedding is.
August 10, 2014
Typical Baumbach. Dark humour, unlikable characters, awkward dialogue. It's fantastic.
March 31, 2014
The filmic equivalent of drinking a bottle of wine and going through old family pictures.
February 8, 2014
Unpleasant and pessimistic picture, this one. Even with the cast's best efforts, there isn't a single sympathetic character to help us go through the movie.
December 10, 2013
Margot (Nicole Kidman) and her son Claude (Zane Paris) decide to visit her sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh) after she announces that she is marrying less-than-impressive Malcolm (Jack Black). In short order, the storm the sisters create leaves behind a a mess of thrashed relationships and exposed family secrets.
also stars John Turturro, Ciaran Hinds, Flora Cross and Halley Feiffer.
directed by Noah Baumbach.
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.
November 25, 2013
I really dont get the arguments against the movie, i love it
October 14, 2013
This study of the dynamics between two sisters (Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh) and what their relationship means to one another is driven by the raw performances of the two leads in Noah Baumbach's naturalistic comedy drama. Kidman's complex Margot, a talented, neurotic writer, who is rightly described at one stage as a monster, engages in a beautifully written and performed manipulative, self-serving relationship with her young son Claude (an incredible Zane Pais); it's the sort of kinship that is worthy of psychoanalysis. The film is unfortunately let down a little by Jack Black in the final act, who fails to hit the mark when the material demands sensitivity; his emotional breakdown comes across a little too unintentionally humorous to be affective, but this is where Leigh, as his likable fiancée, carries the scene.
'Margot at the Wedding' is Baumbach's unsung masterstroke. It's not a perfect film, but the writer/director has constructed a fascinating piece with the perfectly cast Kidman, Leigh and Pais soaking up the screen, inviting the viewer into their world and refusing to let them leave.
March 9, 2008
ItÂs always been hard for me to get past just how dispicable Baumbachs characters always are. Also, is it just me or does he have some obsession with sexual dysfunction?
August 31, 2013
The viewing of dysfunctional families is always interesting to watch.
August 8, 2013
Characters like this don't get screen time so often and i love it!, One of the most real family based movies I've seen, as your family are the only people you can be rude to without consequences, unconditional love.
I feel the characters also have been excellently cast and the dark dry humor is just my cup of tea.
July 29, 2013
hi all the actors are great except Jack black If Ciaran hadn't been in this it would have died a slow death Mr hinds my hat goes off to you your a brave man
July 9, 2013
Margot at the Wedding is not for everybody's taste. It Baumbach achieves something that directors rarely even attempt - for the audience to be simply disgusted and annoyed by the main characters to an extent that they dislike them quite intensely. The screenplay is rather strange and fragmented, which makes the film kind of hard to comprehend, which is my biggest issue with the film. As interesting and complimentary Baumbach's approach is, especially with the 'hating on the characters', it does not help the audience to like the film. On the brighter side, the performances here are top-notch: Nicole Kidman is her usual excellence in this film, as the bitter sister Margot. Her sister is played by the Jennifer Jason-Leigh, who is at least as good as Kidman in his film, if not a tiny bit better. They work great together as sisters. Also, Jack Black is surprisingly real in one of his rare serious roles on-screen. Overall, a difficult but interesting film, with some really good acting.
July 7, 2013
Baumbach takes on another dysfunctional family and provides another compelling flick.
As with Wes Anderson, Baumbach has developed a look and feel to his films which focus on affluent creative types who have made questionable choices throughout their lives. This film is no exception and its the characters that hold the attention as opposed to the story which is minimal. That being said, the characters populating this film are pretty great.
Kidman is excellent portraying Margot as an ice queen who alienates everyone around her. I love watching her in films like this as she excels in parts like this. Jack Black and Jennifer Jason-Leigh are also pretty great as the sister and brother in law who bear the brunt of Margot's actions.
If you are a fan of Baumbach's other works, it is likely that you will find lots of interest here, if not this is unlikely to convert you. Personally I like his take on the world and enjoyed this a lot....
April 24, 2013
very weird movie about disfunctional family!
December 9, 2012
There is so much bad language in this film that it actually loses the impact it is suposed to have.........and it is sickening. Nicole Kidman does a pretty good job, but no one else. There are many scenes shot in semi-darkness, which lends a gloomy atmosphere to the entire movie. The animosity between the sisters is well portrayed, though. I really do not recommend this movie to anyone.
December 5, 2012
No it is not a 52%! I love the strange, cerebral, sad, yet hilarious sister relationship in this film. Complicated family dynamics are often hard to sort out and this film makes a fervent attempt at doing just that. But no action or special affects, it's all character study and some very silly stuff from Jack Black.
November 18, 2012
awkward family moments.
November 10, 2012
Vulgar and whining; if Noah Baumbach wants his characters to be quirky, he sure has succeeded considerably to make them obnoxious people we do not care about. An utter disappointment .