Tag Archives: Squid & The Whale

The Squid and the Whale (2005)

15 Jun

The Squid and the Whale is the third film from writer/director Noah Baumbach, who has mostly been known for his collaborations with fellow filmmaker Wes Anderson.  Like Anderson’s films, The Squid and the Whale is a dark comedy of sorts but one with a truly unique and cynical outlook on divorce, sexuality and family life.  What makes this film so great is the superb writing.  The characters are multilayerd and complex, brought to life by an amazing cast (Jeff Daniels, Jesse Eisenberg, Laura Linney, Owen Kline, William Baldwin and Anna Paquin), and the story is rich and engaging. The film’s unique style, production design and soundtrack creates a vivid image of a moving New York during the 1980’s and the editing is fast paced, which constantly keeps the audience on-edge.

The way this film builds tension is incredible. What starts out as a seemingly simple premise quickly escalates into an unpredictable and deeply-moving drama that reaches an emotionally human core.  I was surprised at how much I laughed during this movie considering how terribly depressing it really is. The film is also loaded with carefully-placed subtleties that give new insights into the characters, making repeated viewings a must.  Independent film really doesn’t get much better than this.

 

rating 9/10

Similar to: Synecdoche New York, Blue Valentine, Happiness

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Frances Ha (2013)

2 Jun

HBO’s hit series GIRLS is known its intimate look at life through the lens of four aspiring young intellectual women living in 21st century New York. Frances Ha, a film by Noah Baumbach, goes down that same path, giving us a taste of the complicated and multilayered world of today’s youth.

Baumbach (mostly known for his masterpiece The Squid and the Whale and occasional collaborations with Wes Anderson), directs his films with such a pinpoint precision that gives his characters room to walk and breath. Greta Gerwig, who also wrote the film, is incredible as the leading lady Frances, and it becomes so hard not to fall in love despite her character flaws.

Yes, the comparisons to GIRLS are unavoidable (both even feature upcoming actor Adam Driver), but Frances Ha sticks out as being more memorable because of its moving pureness and unique energy. Lena Dunham would be proud.

7/10 stars

Similar to: Tiny Furniture, Breathless, Silver Linings Playbook