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Holy crap Sandler's character is so neurotic. Jesus the dialogue between a lot of these characters especially within the family is chaotic.
This movie was almost unbearable to watch because of how nervous, neurotic, anxious and chaotic some of these dialogues and interactions are. Whereas in most movies, when there's dialogue between two or more characters, there's always a couple of seconds of breathing time between conversation. But in this movie, the dialogue is almost inconsistent and all over the place, kind of like how a real life conversation might happen.
It seems that when tragedy happens, it's followed by comedy. There were definitely moments that were hilarious. I'm glad Danny was able to break free of his father's tight grasp. Kind of sad and unfortunate how everything bad that seems to happen is due to a long chain reaction toothed bad things that have happened in the past. If Harold (Hoffman) would have gotten more recognition and love for his work, then he would have been happier and would have given more attention to his kids. Leading to his kids being more successful and happier. But everything works itself out in the end eventually.
Really interesting movie that kind of captivated me and showed me a different family dynamic that I've never really seen presented in a movie before. Terrific acting from everyone. I really enjoyed this movie.
With his neurotic characters and New York locales, Noah Baumbach's films are often reminiscent of Woody Allen. The Meyerowitz Stories is no exception, but that's certainly not a bad thing.
At the centre of the film is Harold (Hoffman), the patriarch of the family, who's bitter and cantankerous and refuses to consider anyone else's point of view. Having enjoyed a slice of modest success when younger, Harold remains resentful about the fact his career never quite took off - especially as a contemporary of his is currently accomplishing. He's been a pretty poor father, distant and self-involved, and all his kids - Danny (Sandler), Jean (Marvel), and Matthew (Stiller); the first two from one marriage, Matthew from another - have grown up with the consequences of that. Harold Meyerowitz is a great character to behold and Hoffman is perfect for this role: he captures his character's hubris effectively, and this combined with his puerility, reminded me a little of the POTUS. He's pretty damn funny, too, especially when he decides to literally run away from a soiree he's decidedly not enjoying.
This character-centred film is light on plot; and, whilst a plot is certainly there, Noah instead focuses on the relationships between the family members. He emphasises the dysfunctionality of these connections through interactions that are tense and strained, but also incredibly funny.
Baumbach is a brilliant writer of dialogue. Admittedly there's a lot of it here - occasionally it's exhausting to process it all - but it's key to the movie and to understanding the characters. In this film he displays his shrewd ability to create humour from simple human interactions. One marvelous scene sees Danny and Matthew engaging in conversation. Neither is really listening to the other; oftentimes their responses don't even relate to the questions being asked. It's an awkward, superficial exchange, and it's hilarious, with each line comedically timed.
It's worth noting that, although Noah Baumbach evokes stellar performances from all his cast, Stiller and Sandler are on top form. Both are often associated with a slew of despairingly bad movies, particularly Sandler. I've always said that all actors shine when they're in the right movie, when the material really suits them. When you watch this movie, I'm almost certain you'll agree that Sandler is terrific in this, dazzling in his role right from the film's opening scene which sees him and his daughter trying to find a parking space in Manhattan to humorous effect.
There's an air of melancholy that hangs over the Meyerowitz stories. A sort of distant sadness that comes with the watching of those who have been damaged by neglectful parenting, and of individuals like Harold who are fated to never really change. But laughs are built so smartly and frequently into the script, that it's never a depressing affair. One also gains hope from the observing of Danny as a parent - he has a healthy and happy relationship with his daughter Eliza.
There are a few negatives. Feeling longer than it's actual run-time, the abundance of dialogue is probably the culprit. The opening title cards, which present each 'chapter' of the film, feel somewhat redundant and also likely lead to the illusion of the film being long. A more dynamic score from Randy Newman could've invigorated the film at moments it required it.
All in all, though, The Meyerowitz Stories is a gem, thriving on great dialogue and orbiting around a terrific performance from Hoffman.
Wow!!! Amazing, such complexity and humour, with so many insights into the absurdities and complexities of our lives...this directors work is as good as Woody Allen!
Even a somewhat average work by Noah Baumbach manages to be so much better than most scripts out there. Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller give their best performances in a very long time as they round out a great ensemble in this intimate portrayal of a strained family.
Minimum character count
it is hurtful, I think it is a bit confused and needs refinement, yet if you appreciate the slow sad and dark fragility of family relationships, u'll like it
There are so many small great moments from beginning to end, but overall the film felt a bit cold...or something that I can't explain. Dustin Hoffman's character is subtly hilarious, representing bits and pieces of virtually every man I've known over the age of 60.
This is a beautiful story of a family struggling to deal with their forced connections.
It was good, though perhaps a bit anxious at times. The dad was obnoxious, which was the point. The siblings (or half-siblings) all did a fantastic job.
Boring, self indulgent and full of artificial "complexity". The kind of movie only enjoyed by people that wasted 4 years getting a film studies PhD.