‘Squid and the Whale’ Marvelous Tale of Loneliness with Beautiful Directing

When you see a DVD of a movie like this, you usually ignore it and grab the next Will Ferrell movie you see. But some of us actually take the time and watch a movie like The Squid and the Whale, Noah Baumbach's third film. And when you do, you get a feeling that no one else can say they've had. Movies like Squid and the Whale boost your intelligence to the oomph degree, which a lot of filmmakers can't say they've ever done. You can tell its quality if the director also writes it as well. Baumbach did just that, similar to the way he did with The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Mr. Jealousy. His directing and screenplay had to be my favorite part of this coming-of-age quirky drama. I hope to see many more works from Noah, because unlike writers Mike White and Dick Clement (School of Rock and Across the Universe), he knows how to write the perfect roles for his cast.

The Squid and the Whale is based on the true story of Noah Baumbach and his brother. It tells the story of Frank (Owen Kline, pretty disturbing) and Walt (Jesse Eisenberg, the awkward kid in Adventureland) as they struggle through the divorce of their two parents Bernard (Jeff Daniels, magnificent) and Joan (Laura Linney). It starts out pretty promising, but towards the middle, it veers of track and starts to creep you out a little. A closet-rapist father and a chronic-masturbating son made me cringe in disgust. But somewhere along the line you start to feel something. You can say how much you hated it all you want, but The Squid and the Whale surrounds you with lost feelings of doubt and negligence that you can't escape from. When the ending of the movie hits you out of nowhere, you'll find that you were in the world of the Berkman family, not your own. Somewhere along the line, Squid and the Whale grabs you and doesn't let go until an hour and twenty minutes in, when all the drama finally ends.

Jeff Daniels, a Dave Coulier look-alike, portrayed an obviously confused divorcee father perfectly. Easily the best actor/actress in the entire film. The whole movie could've been written around him, had Baumbach wanted to. In fact, Daniels won "Best Supporting Actor" at the Chlotrudis Awards in 2006. Speaking of awards, it has won and been nominated for a lot of them. Squid and the Whale was nominated for "Best Screenplay" at the Oscars in 2006, three times at the Golden Globes, six times at the Independent Spirit Awards and was the New York Film Critics Circle Awards pick for, again, "Best Screenplay".

The Squid and the Whale takes you on a ride you really don't want to go on, but you're glad you did. Watch the directing; Noah Baumbach did that well than the screenplay, in my opinion. However, it is a bit weird. You'll fall in love with it, in exactly the wacky way the director wanted you to.

4/5 stars.

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