The Squid and the Whale - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Squid and the Whale Reviews

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½ November 21, 2016
I'm incapable of having an objective opinion on this film. Jeff Daniels is perfect, there's too much focus on the sad sexual elements and it is mostly baseless. A lot of the dynamics were shown very well, at least I think so but I am so biased.
July 3, 2016
A very Wes Anderson like dark comedy, I was not surprised to see name pop up in the credits, it has all the trademark signs, Tennis, weird smart kids, childish parents, and family arguments. If you like Anderson films you'll like this.
June 3, 2016
Kind of like a Wes Anderson film, but really depressing and bad. It's ok to have unlikable characters, I get that that's the point, but you can't have almost every single character be irredeemably excruciating. It's not funny, it's just unpleasant. Sadly it didn't even have a point to it. You watch this gross family going through a divorce and then like ten minutes before the end the son catches his dad practically raping his student. He then manages to realise the painfully obvious; that his dad is the worst human being imaginable, that he is a similar sort of asshole, and that his mum was a good mother (comparatively). He remembers a specific instance where his mother would protect him from a scary museum exhibit, of a Squid and a Whale. Hence the name for this abortion of a movie. To the 3 facebook friends who read my reviews, give this one a miss.
March 30, 2016
Rewatch. Love this flick. The little kid is one sick fuck. What a maverick. Eisenberg who I'm not really a fan of is great, Linney and Daniels are excellent as the divorced parents. The latter is a real tight, pompous cunt. Great use of Pink Floyd's Hey You.
March 15, 2016
I think I've always been a fan of Noah Baumbach even though I've only seen two of his films up to this point (the utterly perfect "Frances Ha" and respectably idiosyncratic "Greenberg"). As a director, the man has such a distinct voice that I can Joe with the experience of watching his movies even if I don't necessarily like them (as I did with "Greenberg"). He excels at taking complex emotions and holding them up to scrutiny, simultaneously making them understandable while poking fun at their inherent absurdity. The same is true in his first film "The Squid and the Whale," a teasing tragi-comedy about middle class divorce. All the levity here comes from the characters and the intersection of their quirks. Jeff Daniels is pretentious writer of waning fame who grows bitter and jealous of his ex-wife's new literary success. His eldest son (Jesse Eisenberg) is a confused teen who idolizes him to the point of parroting his every thought. He pushes his other son away because of his unfaltering loyalty to his ex (Laura Linney) despite her repeated infidelities. These four players stick to their quirks and traits like glue and the unraveling family dynamic is as hilarious as it is crushingly relatable.

Where "The Squid and the Whale" fumbles though is in its shifting focus and haphazard conclusion. Throughout the first 45 minutes, the younger son and his grappling with the separation is the lens by which we view the action. However, this takes a dramatic 180 toward the end as we find out that Walt (the elder son) is the one really undergoing the most growth and change. It happens suddenly and isn't as earned as it seems to think it is. As it is, the running time caps out at an hour fifteen with another five minutes of credits. I never say this, but if the movie was just fifteen minutes longer, Walt's character arc could be better realized.

But that aside, this is a funny, moving, very real movie. Prime Baumbach and very deserving of its Best Original Screenplay nom. 8.3/10
March 15, 2016
Sharply-observed, funny story of a family breakup in middle-class Brooklyn. Jeff Daniels plays an emotionally stunted college professor, with one of my favourite actresses, Laura Linney, as his long-suffering ex-wife.
March 2, 2016
The troubles of a broken family told realistically. Very humane, very bold. Detailed note coming soon.
½ February 28, 2016
Honestly, this movie was crazy... so many damaged characters, & the different directions they all go in... & that soundtrack for this film was absolutely 5 star... I actually it has one to purchase.
February 4, 2016
This diligently expressive and jarringly earnest drama incites an impactful display of familial dynamics and divorce with a distinctively sharp and insightful focus on the adverse affects of perplexing interpersonal crises on each individual family member, especially where the children are concerned.The Squid and the Whale is laced with an emotionally intelligent and concise dialogue that delicately ascertains how a child's perception of their parents (Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney) in the face of discord is subject to many, sometimes psychologically damaging, alterations and modifications as the nature of their parent's respective humanity is gradually revealed to them.

Director Noah Baumbach exquisitely pinpoints how these unfortunate circumstances will jostle a child's psychological well-being and potentially expedite their maturation process when the child aims to reverse their role as a dependent and take on the role of an independent/parent when the parent neglects -- consciously or not -- their responsibilities as caregivers. Interestingly, Baumbach touches subtly on a ripening Madonna-whore complex reinforced in character Walt, a pompous teenage boy (portrayed by the fetching young talent, Jesse Eisenberg), who is desperate to gain his intellectual father's approval, holding him in such high regard he lives unashamedly in his shadow and ignores any of his blaring flaws. The Madonna-whore complex is demonstrated in the way Walt feels sexually entitled to a female peer whom he considers physically and intellectually inferior to him, yet he respectfully admires his father's attractive and intellectual protégé, Lily (Anna Paquin), who takes up residence in his father's home and is one of his students. All the while, Walt finds it difficult to have any sympathy or compassion for his mother, whom he blames exclusively for his parent's matrimonial dissolve and resents her emotional distance and simultaneously overprotective nature throughout his childhood. Walt's younger, preteen brother, Frank (a raw, yet tender Owen Kline), struggling with his own identity and budding sexuality, hopes to place some distance between himself and his father because, unlike his brother, he doesn't as easily relate to him because he isn't an intellectual. In fact, he is closer to his mother and feels very protective of her .

The Squid and the Whale is so refined it penetrates the soul.

[A-] -- 82%
December 29, 2015
Breathtakingly honest and spellbinding in its relatability, The Squid and the Whale features stunning acting performances from its cast, and beautiful writing and direction within its self-contained story.
December 20, 2015
Jeff Daniels was good in it, bu he is good in everything he does. Eccentric.
½ December 6, 2015
This movie is awful.
December 1, 2015
At his most sincere, Noah Baumbach pulls off touchingly honest with his pristine directing style.
November 16, 2015
I had such a profound dislike of Jeff Daniel's character, therefore, I know his performance was brilliant. I hope children do not have to experience such selfish parents.
½ November 12, 2015
Well, I found it almost unbearably intense which probably has less to do with Baumbach's film about his parents' divorce and more to do with the fact that my own parents were divorced in the early 1980s (a bit before the time period of the movie - 1987). Probably none of the events in the movie relate to my own experience (most facts of the situation are different) but somehow the idea of the thing and the emotions that are in play touched some kind of a nerve. So, is it a comedy? I couldn't see it that way. Instead, it shows a bunch of real people having a lot of trouble with their relationships and the feelings that they have toward each other, past, present and future and basically experiencing sheer torment. Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney enact the parents well, but Jesse Eisenberg seems a bit constricted as the older son. I couldn't quite grasp his reactions to the divorce and subsequent events - maybe he is supposed to appear disrupted and confused. The younger son's externalizing behaviour seems a bit cliché (and gross) but yeah well these are probably realistic reactions for someone. So, without blaming my own parents, I'm not sure I really enjoyed watching this movie or recalling these events from my life. I don't think I'll re-watch Kramer vs. Kramer either.
½ November 11, 2015
Another film with a name that scarcely will give you a hint about the issue.
A extremely acid view about divorce, intellectuals, and the personal success inside marriage.
October 7, 2015
Sure, self proclaimed people can be a bit charming at first, but as time passes by, they ruin the lives of everyone that loves them, and still stand up high and say it's not their fault, because they did everything perfect. Happens a lot to people who got a PHD in literature, but little that they knew is that nobody gives a shit about their copy-paste and borrow-steal culture.
I'd take a "philistine" over any of those pretentious dumbasses anyday!.
September 13, 2015
Beautiful and witty, The Squid and The Whale tells a story like no other, with plenty of amazing writting and references that make the relationships intense and unique, and with added and sutile comedy, it is hard not to be captivated by the film as a whole.
½ September 6, 2015
It's more than just a movie about divorce, it's really about how parenting affects us and how our views of our parents change as we grow older and experience more I think. But as far as the divorce aspect goes, it's definitely the most personal and relatable I think in that realm of film. And Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney are perfect in it. One of my favorite dysfunctional family films.
½ September 5, 2015
This film is brutal. Its a semi autobiographical movie about two youngsters who must deal with their parent's divorce. Its honest, yucky, and completely compelling and original. Its considered Noah Baumbach's best film, and I think its solid because its so personal to him.
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