Based on the true childhood experiences of Noah Baumbach and his brother, The Squid and the Whale tells the touching story of two young boys dealing with their parents' divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s.
When seasoned comedian George Simmons learns of his terminal, inoperable health condition, his desire to form a genuine friendship cause him to take a relatively green performer under his wing as his opening act.
We like Florence: she's considerate, sweet, pretty, and terrific with kids and dogs. She's twenty-five, personal assistant to an L.A. family that's off on vacation. Her boss's brother comes in from New York City, fresh from a stay at an asylum, to take care of the house. He's Roger, a forty-year-old carpenter, gone from L.A. for fifteen years. He arrives, doesn't drive, and needs Florence's help, especially with the family's dog. He's also connecting with former band-mates - two men and one woman with whom he has a history. He over-analyzes, has a short fuse, and doesn't laugh at himself easily. As he navigates past and present, he's his own saboteur. And what of Florence? is Roger one more responsibility for her or something else? Written by
During the party scene which Ivan drags Greenberg to, for a brief few seconds James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem walks across the screen staring at his phone. See more »
During the "teenage party", Greenberg decides to change the music on the CD player and inserts "Rio" by Duran Duran. He only presses three times the "next song" button and should therefore reach the song #4 ("Hungry Like The Wolf"). Instead, it is "The Chauffeur" (song #9 on the CD) that can be heard, to everybody's dismay. See more »
I was under the impression that this would be another wacky Ben Stiller comedy. When I started watching it and learned that Noah Baumbach (who had previously made the excellent 'Margot at the Wedding') was the director, I knew this was going to be a different kind of movie that would probably reveal a different side of Ben Stiller's acting. Many have described this to be for Stiller what 'Punch Drunk Love' was for Adam Sandler and 'Stranger Than Fiction' was for Will Ferrell.
Baumbach's 'Greenberg' is a character driven piece that centres on Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller), who recently left a mental asylum and is back in town to housesit for his brother who's away on holiday. He falls for his brother's assistant and tries to pick up the pieces of a life he had once left behind while going through a midlife crisis.
Like he did with 'Margot at the Wedding', Baumbach's execution is lowkey and his narration mostly relies on the interactions between the characters and the protagonist's quiet moments when he/she is alone. The art direction is suitably minimal and the camera-work is solid. The dry humour is very effective and consistent with the atmosphere Baumbach creates.
Ben Stiller does a remarkable job with an effortless performance. This is definitely a departure from what he's familiar with and he proves that he can deliver a restrained performance when required. Rhys Ifans is equally good. Jennifer Jason Leigh (who also co-wrote the screenplay) provides fine support on both counts. Greta Gerwig is competent.
Baumbach has done it again, successfully telling a complex story that appears to be much more than what shows on the surface.
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