Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Squid and the Whale

Speaking of movies, went last night to see The Squid and The Whale, Noah Baumbach's semi-autobiographical movie about his boho Park Slope writer parents going through a divorce in the mid-eighties, and how it completely fucks over their kids. It's a wonderful film, with some straight-up amazing acting. Jeff Daniels is perfect as the kind of pompous intellectual who creates a shell of observational indifference around himself to avoid getting sucked into actually feeling how much his life had gone to shit. He throws out lit crit jargon like a weapon, and his older son apes and idolizes his father's cruel gaze. What's most amazing is how deeply the movie gets into the heads of these kids, two boys, the older one a teenager who wins a school talent contest after performing a Pink Floyd song on acoustic guitar and claiming to have written it, justifying himself on the grounds that he "could have written it"; and the younger son, who acts out in bizarre episodes of shirtless drinking and semi-public masterbation.
It's a painful movie, but if, like me, you were an adolescent with divorcing parents, you will feel whalloped up the side of the head with empathy.


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