The Squid and the Whale - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Squid and the Whale Reviews

Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
January 5, 2006
A wry exercise in acute observation and emotional distancing, Noah Baumbach's The Squid and the Whale represents what's best in autobiographical filmmaking.
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
December 6, 2005
The Squid and the Whale is essentially about how we grow up by absorbing what is useful in our parents and forgiving what is not.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
November 23, 2005
Don't look now, but Jeff Daniels' days as 'the other Jeff' may be coming to an end.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
November 17, 2005
Hilarious, harrowing and heartbreaking, The Squid and the Whale is one of the best movies of the year.
| Original Score: A
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
November 4, 2005
It has the messiness of real life, with uncombed hair and unanswered questions.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
November 4, 2005
A brutal study in distracted parenting.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Bruce Westbrook
Houston Chronicle
November 4, 2005
Brevity is, indeed, the soul of wit, and in this case, wit barely starts to describe the value of this dead-on, full-of-life motion picture.
| Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
November 4, 2005
The movie's lasting sting belies its brief 80 minutes. This is one cinematic novella that stays with you for quite a while.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
November 3, 2005
The movie feels like it was written in the filmmaker's own sweat and tears.
Top Critic
Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 3, 2005
Daniels and Linney do a great job of being despicable without coming off as monstrous, which is what makes the characters credible.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
October 28, 2005
It's a movie filled with pain and frustration, but it's also consistently funny, riding the fine line between tragic understanding and comic observation.
| Original Score: A
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
October 28, 2005
It allows us to feel for all the aggrieved parties. This is no small achievement, considering how badly everyone behaves.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
October 28, 2005
This movie -- shot in less than a month on a very small budget -- has the stinging intelligence of a sharp novel, but tempered by genuine sadness.
| Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Michael Booth
Denver Post
October 28, 2005
The most praiseworthy thing about emerging writer-director Noah Baumbach's movie is the precise observation and delivery of language.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
October 27, 2005
There's nothing fun about divorce, but The Squid and the Whale manages to wring humor from a sharp-edged, painfully real separation story that goes straight for the jugular on its way to the funny bone.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
October 27, 2005
As one who survived the epic clash of estranged parents, Baumbach has not only lived to tell the tale but has grown up with sufficient empathy to retell it with great flourish, and from the perspectives of the warriors and their collateral damage.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
October 25, 2005
The foundation of any good family drama is interesting characters, and The Squid and the Whale is replete with them
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
October 21, 2005
A worthy film, satisfying along the way and indicative of an appealing talent.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
October 21, 2005
This is a film that reinvigorates the divorce cliché through the steady application of two ingredients: scrupulous honesty and admirable concision.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
David Denby
New Yorker
October 18, 2005
It's a small miracle.
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
October 17, 2005
That Jeff Daniels character in particular is such a perfect crystallization of a certain kind of intellectual who is so pleased with himself and so incapable of being a decent human being.
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
October 13, 2005
An incisive and intimate tale of a Brooklyn family falling apart as told by the two sons.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
October 13, 2005
Acutely observed, faultlessly acted, graced with piercing emotion and unsparing honesty, it will make you laugh because you can't bear to cry.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
October 13, 2005
Works very well as a grown-up family entertainment unafraid of all the indelicate details of pubescent indiscretions among children entangled in a supposedly 'friendly' divorce.
Top Critic
Paul Malcolm
L.A. Weekly
October 13, 2005
in The Squid and the Whale, Noah Baumbach weds his verbal gifts to a fresh visual acuity that brings layers of rich detail to a portrait of a family coping, poorly, with self-inflicted change.
Top Critic
Jim Emerson
RogerEbert.com
October 7, 2005
A film this fully realized, with such a personal and sharply focused eye for the telling details of human behavior -- unsparing but not unforgiving -- is a rarity to be prized.
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
October 7, 2005
Without jerking tears or reducing the acid content of his wit, Baumbach's humane movie gets under your skin.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
October 7, 2005
A startling new drama.
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
October 7, 2005
Has so much going for it -- including intelligent performances that mesh beautifully, and a keen understanding of how seemingly small moments can rattle the foundations of families -- that you walk away from it feeling it should add up to more.
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
October 6, 2005
Baumbach captures the ways in which children takes sides in a war they can't even begin to comprehend.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Jan Stuart
Newsday
October 6, 2005
Photographed in a rough-hewn, French New Wave style befitting its alienated characters, The Squid and the Whale significantly fulfills the promise of Baumbach's 1995 debut feature Kicking and Screaming.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
October 5, 2005
Baumbach lets no one off the hook, least of all himself.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
October 5, 2005
You can look at The Squid and the Whale as the truest kind of artistic coming-of-age story: a cathartic piece of self-criticism.
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
October 5, 2005
The Squid and the Whale gazes inward, like a diary, and with its washed-out look it's bitterly sober.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
October 5, 2005
[A] wrenchingly funny, agonizingly astute movie.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
October 5, 2005
Mining his own chidlhood, Noah Baumbach has put together an unsparing, funny portrait of a family in crisis and a young man trying to figure out his parents and himself.
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
September 27, 2005
Tender, cruel, and very funny, Baumbach's fourth feature turns family history into a sort of urban myth.
Top Critic
Susan Walker
Toronto Star
September 24, 2005
Both literarily wise and literary in itself, The Squid and the Whale is a fresh rendering of the agony of divorce.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Scott Foundas
Variety
September 13, 2005
Makes up in strong performances and wry observation what it sometimes lacks in narrative drive.