Margot and her son Claude decide to visit her sister Pauline after she announces that she is marrying less-than-impressive Malcolm. In short order, the storm the sisters create leaves behind a mess of thrashed relationships and exposed family secrets.
Lester is an occasional substitute teacher and he's very jealous. He is jealous about the last boyfriend of Lester's slightly wacky current partner Ramona - arrogant best-selling author ... See full summary »
A New York woman (who doesn't really have an apartment) apprentices for a dance company (though she's not really a dancer) and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as the possibility of realizing them dwindles.
A slice of family life: sisters, husbands, children, history, secrets, jealousies. Margot and her teen son, Claude, travel from Manhattan to her family's Long Island home, occupied by sister Pauline, Pauline's daughter, and Malcolm, the slacker Pauline will marry outdoors that week under a tree neighbors want removed. Backbiting marks family discussion, particularly between the sisters and in Margot's cutting remarks to Claude. Pauline tells Margot a secret that Margot promptly tells Claude. Margot dislikes Malcolm and undermines him. She also has marital problems and a lover nearby. People are cruel, inside and outside their families. Is there a refuge for Margot or for Pauline?Written by
Malcolm has trouble recollecting the bassist for Motley Crue, and then remembers that it's Mick Mars. The bass player for Motley Crue is actually Nikki Sixx, although this mistake could have been intentional to further convey the forgetfulness. See more »
He's doing the interview with me in town on Friday. Did I tell you he and I are collaborating on a screenplay? An adaptation of one of Dick's novels.
No. I didn't even know you knew he was up here.
[while drawing with Claude and Ingrid]
Is he even a good writer? Why do people care about him?
You're competitive with everyone. It doesn't even matter if they do the same thing as you. He's competitive with Bono.
It's true. I don't subscribe to the credo that there's enough room for everyone to be ...
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A Film for Grinding your Teeth and Scratching your Head
Noah Baumbach creates strange films, movies that are low budget in appearance (except for the sterling casts he assembles), dicey stories about dysfunctional people (and there is obviously a mirror here for seeing our own dysfunctional traits), moods that suggest the films of Ingmar Bergman shot with camera work that blurs the line of reality and fantasy, and in the end films that initiate discussion (both arguing for and against the quality of time the viewers have just spent). His are message films and while they may not entertain the mass number of filmgoers, they are an important aspect of the new American cinema.
Novelist Margot (Nicole Kidman) and her son Claude (Zane Pais, in an impressive film debut) are traveling to Margot's semi-estranged sister's wedding: hippie Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is marrying the bizarre artist wannabe Malcolm (Jack Black) in the backyard of the girl's old home somewhere in New England. The sisters have a rocky relationship, strained by family secrets that include a distant mother and strange sister and a possibly pedophilia father, and strained by Margot's success as a writer (though she has failed in her marriage to the nebulous Jim - John Turturro - and is having an affair with another writer Dick - Ciarán Hinds - whose Harvard daughter Maisy - Halley Feiffer - is an oversexed thorn in the family's eyes), and strained by Pauline's lack of direction away from her past as a 'woman of loose morals' to the discovery that she is pregnant by the loser Malcolm. The entire story takes place on the weekend of Pauline's planned wedding and everything that could possibly go wrong does. Each of the sister's idiosyncrasies and maladjustments to life come into play and the only characters who seem to be able to make sense of any of the behavior abnormalities are the sisters' children - Claude and Pauline's daughter Ingrid (Flora Cross). If there is a focal point that rises out of all this dysfunctional behavior it is the manner in which Margot and Claude are bonded as mother and son - not a perfect balance of roles but one of great tenderness and intention.
Yes, there are some strangely comic aspects to this story, dark though they may be, but the overall impression is one of trying to understand why each of these strange characters has chosen their paths in life - and that opens the forum for viewer introspection and excellent post-viewing conversation. Much of the success of this little film is due to the fine performances by Kidman, Leigh, Pais, Turturro, Hinds, and Black. It is a very strong cast able to accompany us on this often confusing journey. Grady Harp
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