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The Squid and the Whale (2005) April 20, 2006

Posted by ayasawada in Film.
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Produced by Wes Anderson and with his fingerprints all over it. Or maybe he just attracts very like-minded collaborators. Noah Baumback, who co-wrote The Life Aquatic, directs this very personal story of a family separated by divorce. It’s quirky, it’s witty, it’s excrutiating at times – everything you’d expect from a Wes Anderson film in fact. This includes outstanding performances, Jeff Daniels in particularly good form as pompous patriarch Bernard. It’s all the more convincing because he’s usually the nice guy and Bernard is an absolute git. Both children are a little irritating themselves, but Baumbach invests a lot of humanity in their odd responses to the parental split. Some things are handled a little too simplistic, such as the inevitable therapist who prompts predictable conclusions surprisingly easily. But at least the film never tries to tack-on a happy ending. Writing and directing from experience, Baumback knows first-hand that divorce is never easy but brings out the absurdity of different reactions to emotional betrayal.

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