Friday, October 21, 2005

Movie: The Squid and the Whale

"The Squid and the Whale" is a smart independent film directed by Noah Baumbach, and starring Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney. It is the story of a troubled and breaking apart family. Daniels plays the struggling and superior father and once-respected writer who can barely make ends meet now. Linney is his suddenly successful novelist wife, who has long been left unsatisfied by her husband. As the family breaks apart, their two sons, played by Jesse Eisenberg and Owen Kline, must find their own way in dealing with their parents and their individual lives.

Both Daniels and Linney, who is brilliantly understated, put in excellent performances, but it is Kline, and his foul-mouth, beer drinking and sexual escapades that steals the movie at times.

"The Squid and the Whale" is smart and funny; sweet and frustrating. It probes the duality of loving, but also being self-absorbed, the caring about family, yet wanting nothing to do with the members at times and the coming to realize the imperfections of those around us and ourselves. It is true to a dysfunctional existence, and is willing to expose the human frailties and failings of the lead characters.

The ending is unexpected, but speaks the perfect message of realization and desire.

"The Squid and the Whale" is a movie worth seeing. After, it is a picture worthy of thought.

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