Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Squid and the Whale (***1/2)

Brilliantly written and acted, The Squid and the Whale is one of the better films this year. Writer-director Noah Baumbach mined much of his personal history to give this film so much insight and truth into the effect divorce has on a family. Though the film contains some incredulous indie film "quirks" and leaves the viewer a bit cold, so much is right here. The parents' power struggles over the kids is nicely realized, and a lot of the dialogue is sharp as a knife and can really cut. I'd compare the film to Closer in that regard, where much of the audience is shocked just to hear such vile and poisonous words pour out of the characters mouths. Kudos to Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney for perfectly capturing that New York intelligentsia character dynamic, and to the child actors, particularly Jesse Eisenberg of Roger Dodger, who gives the film it's sole, beating heart. Worth seeing.


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