The Squid and the Whale
All in the Mind?
Eden Court Cinema
3 April 2012 at 7.30pm
Director: Noah Baumbach
Screenplay: Noah Baumbach
2005, USA, Colour, 77 mins.
JEFF DANIELS, Bernard Berkman; LAURA LINNEY, Joan Berkman; JESSE EISENBERG, Walt Berkman; OWEN KLINE, Frank Berkman; WILLIAM BALDWIN, Ivan; HALLEY FEIFFER, Sophie; ANNA PAQUIN, Lili; DAVID BENGER, Carl
- Writer/director Noah Baumbach's Oscar-nominated drama is a serio-comic account of an intellectual New York couple's divorce as seen from the perspective of their two sons. It's beautifully played by the principals, with Jesse Eisenberg particularly good as the clever but callow teenager beginning the painful process of realising that his father (Jeff Daniels) is not as perfect as he once thought. But at the heart of the film is Daniels's astonishing performance as Bernard, the subtly monstrous paterfamilias whose intellectual arrogance (he refers to Kafka as "one of my predecessors") and casual meanness are tempered by a kind of wounded bewilderment, both at his own professional decline and at his abandonment by his wife (the excellent Laura Linney). Baumbach's film was apparently inspired by his own family's break-up in the 1980s. Perhaps that's why the agonising details are so acutely observed and offer an occasional, mildly uncomfortable feeling of partisanship.
Reviewed By Adam Smith, Radio Times Film Guide
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