The Squid and the Whale

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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Released 2005

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Movie Summary

Director:
Noah Baumbach
Released:
2005
Rating:
R
The Squid and the Whale is about a broken up family. Two sons learn the hard way about how a marriage falls apart in this independent comedy drama. Bernard (Jeff Daniels) is a novelist whose career has gone into a slow decline as he spends more time teaching and less time writing, and is unhappy. His wife, Joan (Laura Linney), meanwhile, has recently begun publishing her own work to widespread acclaim, which only increases the growing tension between them. One day, Bernard and Joan's two sons -- 16-year-old Walt (Jesse Eisenberg) and 12-year-old Frank -- are told that their parents are separating, with Bernard renting a house on the other side of their Park Slope, Brooklyn, neighborhood. As the parents set up a schedule for spending time with their children, Walt and Jesse can hardly imagine that things could get more awful between their folks, but they do, as Joan begins dating Ivan Frank's tennis instructor, and Bernard starts sharing the house with Lili, one of his own students. Meanwhile, the two boys begin taking sides in the battle between their parents, with Walt taking after his father and Frank siding with his mom. Based on writer/director Noah Baumbach's own childhood experiences with his parents' divorce, The Squid and the Whale won prizes for writing and direction at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. Mark Demingmoreless

Metacritic Score

  • 90

    The New York Times Dana Stevens

    Both sharply comical and piercingly sad. Mr. Baumbach surveys the members of the flawed, collapsing Berkman family with sympathy but without mercy, noting their individual and coll...

  • 90

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    Acutely observed, faultlessly acted, graced with piercing emotion and unsparing honesty, it will make you laugh because you can't bear to cry.

  • 70

    Variety Scott Foundas

    Pic makes up in strong performances and wry observation what it sometimes lacks in narrative drive. Result is a perceptive (and unexpectedly moving) portrait of lives in crisis.

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    Categories

    Drama

    Themes

    Love & Romance, Family Dramas