Greenberg (2010)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  26 March 2010 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 28,280 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 148 user | 236 critic | 39 from

A man from Los Angeles, who moved to New York years ago, returns to L.A. to figure out his life while he house-sits for his brother. He soon sparks with his brother's assistant.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Greenberg Boy
Greenberg Girl
Emily Lacy ...
Gallery Band Member
Aaron Wrinkle ...
Gallery Band Member
Heather Lockie ...
Gallery Band Member
Guy at Gallery
Zach Chassler ...
Blair Tefkin ...
Megan - Beller's Party


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He's got a lot on his mind.


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong sexuality, drug use, and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

26 March 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Den skeftomai, ara yparho  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$118,152 (USA) (19 March 2010)


£283,806 (UK) (18 June 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Original cast included Amy Adams and Mark Ruffalo. Maggie Gyllenhaal was considered for the lead role after Amy Adams dropped out. See more »


One of the complaint letters Greenberg sends has an address on "Eigth" Avenue. See more »


Roger Greenberg: The thing about you kids is that you're all kind of insensitive. I'm glad I grew up when I did cos your parents were too perfect at parenting- all that baby Mozart and Dan Zanes songs; you're just so sincere and interested in things! There's a confidence in you guys that's horrifying. You're all ADD and carpal tunnel. You wouldn't know Agoraphobia if it bit you in the ass, and it makes you mean. You say things to someone like me who's older and smarter with this light air... I'm freaked out by ...
See more »


References Hannah Takes the Stairs (2007) See more »


Birthday Song
Written, Produced and Performed by James Murphy
Courtesy of DFA Records/EMI Records Ltd.
James Murphy appears courtesy of DFA Records/EMI Records Ltd.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Working hard at doing nothing
28 March 2010 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Noah Baumbach wrote and directed the excellent "The Squid and the Whale", and it is with "Greenberg" that he really makes a statement as an independent filmmaker to anticipate. The second gem is always the most elusive. That said, I am not sure I can recommend this movie to very many people, despite all the good things I am about to write.

This is the first Ben Stiller role that actually seems to fit him. His typical role is as a punchline. Here, he plays a guy who recently suffered a nervous breakdown and is now house-sitting for his rich brother, whose family is vacationing in Vietnam. Throughout the movie, Greenberg states he is concentrating on doing "nothing" right now. Of course, that is his defense mechanism for being unable to connect or communicate with any real person. Yes, that sounds bleak ... and it is. Yet, it is also fascinating and thought-provoking.

Despite Stiller's strong turn, Greta Gerwig (as Florence) proves to be the heart of the story. She is the family assistant to Greenberg's brother and finds herself oddly attracted to Greenberg's vulnerable state. This is my first exposure to Ms. Gerwig and I find her fascinating as an actress. She has a natural openness on screen and is certainly no glamour-gal. Instead she comes across as a very real 25 year old trying to make sense of life - especially her own.

In addition to Ms. Gerwig, Rhys Ifans provides outstanding support work as Greenberg's long ago band mate. This is the polar opposite of Ifan's character in "The Boat that Rocked" as here is just a guy putting together a grown up life for himself. He struggles with the adjustment, but accurately depicts how choices can make or break us.

I am not sure whether to categorize this as a character study or just an exquisitely written series of scenes that hit the nail on the head. One of the best scenes of the film is when Stiller meets up with Jennifer Jason Leigh and she immediately rebuffs his reconciliation attempts. They had been a couple briefly 15 years ago and she has obviously moved on. Excellent film-making.

The best way I can describe Greenberg the character is that he is a compilation of the dark thought that we all experience from time to time ... a desire to do nothing, wanting to be blunt and direct, dreams of recapturing the magic of youth, and of course, writing complaint letters for everything wrong in the world. Obviously, most of us spend very little real time on these things, but that is the Greenberg character. Let's keep an eye on Mr. Baumbach - he may just be the real deal.

55 of 84 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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