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.