The Squid and the Whale (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Squid and the Whale (2005)



Critic Consensus: This is a piercingly honest, acidly witty look at divorce and its impact on a family.

The Squid and the Whale Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Bernard Berkman, the patriarch of an eccentric Brooklyn family, claims to have been a famous novelist but is now reduced to teaching. His wife Joan discovers a literary talent of her own, and it breaks up the family, leaving the two teenage sons, Walt, 16, and Frank, 12, divided between their parents. The wife starts an affair with her younger son's tennis coach, while the husband starts sleeping with a student whom his elder son is courting.more
Rating: R (for strong sexual content, graphic dialogue and language)
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Noah Baumbach
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 14, 2006
Box Office: $7.1M
Samuel Goldwyn Films - Official Site


Jeff Daniels
as Bernard Berkman
Laura Linney
as Joan Berkman
Owen Kline
as Frank Berkman
Jesse Eisenberg
as Walt Berkman
Halley Feiffer
as Sophie Greenburg
Molly Barton
as Graduate Student
Bo Berkman
as Graduate Student
Matthew Kaplan
as Graduate Student
Simon Kaplan
as Graduate Student
Matthew Kirsch
as Graduate Student
Daniella Markowicz
as Graduate Student
Elizabeth Meriwether
as Graduate Student
Ben Schrank
as Graduate Student
Amy Srebnick
as Graduate Student
Josh Srebnick
as Graduate Student
Emma Straub
as Graduate Student
Alan Wilks
as Graduate Student
Eli Gelb
as Jeffrey
Wayne Lawson
as Talent Show Judge
Michael Santiago
as Talent Show Judge
Patricia Towers
as Talent Show Judge
Peggy Gormley
as Mrs. Greenberg
Peter Newman (I)
as Mr. Greenberg
Greta Kline
as Greta Greenberg
Melissa Meyer
as Professor
Benjamin Smolen
as Student with Puppets
Alexandra Daddario
as Pretty Girl
Nico Baumbach
as Jeb Gelber
Ken Leung
as School Counselor
Jo Yang
as Nurse
Peter Newman
as Mr. Greenberg
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Squid and the Whale

Critic Reviews for The Squid and the Whale

All Critics (158) | Top Critics (43)

A wry exercise in acute observation and emotional distancing, Noah Baumbach's The Squid and the Whale represents what's best in autobiographical filmmaking.

January 5, 2006
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Try as he might to cut to the frayed nerves of a scene, Baumbach lets cuteness get in the way

Full Review… | September 1, 2009

A simple but engrossing parable of a family set in half, and their children having to choose sides.

Full Review… | April 29, 2009
Cinema Crazed

Like the diorama in New York's Museum of Natural History from which the film's title is derived, The Squid And The Whale depicts deep-seated conflict in a manner that is at once exquisitely lifelike and mesmerisingly awful to look at.

Full Review… | August 6, 2007
Eye for Film

The script is delightful, and the banter between the family members is fresh without seeming too scripted.

Full Review… | June 21, 2007
Film Scouts

Un retrato honesto y revelador de la descomposición de un matrimonio, visto desde la perspectiva de los hijos adolescentes.

Full Review… | August 11, 2006
Uruguay Total

Audience Reviews for The Squid and the Whale


Pleasant, engaging drama that boasts some stunning performances, I really enjoyed the Squid and the Whale, which is a surprisingly charming picture that mixes drama with a few aspects of comedy. The result is a film that is highly entertaining from start to finish, and each actor brings something great to the screen. The film is well worth seeing, and ranks among the finest dramas I have seen in the last few months. Even if this film is nearly a decade old, I'm glad I finally got around to seeing this film, as it is well worth your time. With effective performances that really bring out the best of the film's elements, The Squid and the Whale is a near perfect film that is well worth your time. It's a short, straight to the point film that just dives into its plot, and you get hooked fairly easily simple, yet effective this film takes a simple idea, and runs with it and pulls off something wonderful. Short and sweet, and to the point. This is an impressive picture, one that is accomplished in what it tries to do, and it features Jesse Eisenberg finest performance to date. This is the perfect mix of drama and comedy and it works quite well to grab your attention and make it a film going experience that will stick with you long after you've seen it. The performances are wonderful, and the plot is rich, and The Squid and the Whale has something for everyone. For those who enjoy the genre, this is a film well worth your time, and is an engaging picture from start to finish.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer


Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer


I haven't been through a divorce, so this is all a little obscure to me, but this movie is believable. Although everyone struggles with the new arrangement - the movie primarily covers the impact on the kids. It bothers me that the parents say they are there for their kids, but really they are not. Both of them are more concerned about themselves than they are about their kids.

Red Lats

Super Reviewer

The Squid and the Whale Quotes

Bernard Berkman: What is it about high school, that you read all the worst books by good writers?
– Submitted by Richard D (4 years ago)
Walt Berkman: It's like... we were pals then... we'd do things together... we'd look at the knight armor at the Met. The scary fish at the Natural History Museum. I was always afraid of the squid and whale fighting. I can only look at it with my hands in front of my face.
– Submitted by Chris P (5 years ago)
Frank Berkman: Mom and me versus you and Dad.
– Submitted by Chris P (5 years ago)

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