Saturday, December 15, 2007

THE SQUID AND THE WHALE (Noah Baumbach, 2005, USA) Jeff Daniels deftly portrays a New York intellectual whose having a crisis of epic-novel proportions: his wife wants a divorce, he can't write another great novel, his fling with one of his young college students doesn't work out, his two sons are acting out, and he's spiritually lost and running on empty. But he just can't understand why things are falling apart. The mind is only one part of the whole and his intellect rules his emotions an actions, leading him down this path of despair. And his family suffers for it. This reminds me of the smart films that Woody Allen used to make when we could connect to the characters and feel bits of ourselves in their pathos. Baumbach delivers an excellent condemnation of modern family values without judgment and gives us the means to self-discovery. Sometimes we just need to look at ourselves and face our fears alone. (B)

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