The Squid and the Whale - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Squid and the Whale Reviews

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April 27, 2017
Watching "The Squid and the Whale" is like watching the funniest and wittiest possible version of all the conflict kids of not-overly-messily divorced parents have to put up with. I love it.
April 19, 2017
An honest look at divorce, as well as the pains of being stuck in the middle; the difference between being brilliant and pretentious, and the bitterness that forces it's way into tough situations.

Noah Baumbach may be the heir to Woody Allen's seat as the patron saint of upper crust New York comedy-drama.
½ March 28, 2017
A very interesting and funny movie with some stellar performances and a great story making a very underrated movie.
½ March 19, 2017
How can an intelligent man like Bernard not getting it? He hurls his pride and vanity around like a bag of trophy. Excellent performance in a surprising and nuanced domestic play.
March 15, 2017
I really enjoyed this. Great cast, the story is superb and the 80s setting is perfect. Definitely see it!
January 15, 2017
I have never seen a movie where a character is so relatable to my own life. The movie was very realistic, which I love. It has good pacing and the dialogue is brilliant. Very relatable
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.
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