Mixed or average reviews- based on 130 Ratings
Aug 19, 2010This was a potentially good movie ruined by the classic combination of a Big Star wanting to be in a small indie film. It. Having to watch Ben Stiller in every scene was so painful, especially when Greta Gerwig and Rhys Ivans were so good. There was no nuance or depth or humanity to his character. It reminded me of Punch Drunk Love, in which Adam Sandler just looks stone faced the whole movie, which seemed to be his way of 'Acting'. A similar self-involved character, the dad in Squid and the Whale was so much better with Jeff Daniels, a much much better actor.
I am sure that this is why Alexander Payne retains control over casting. Imagine a good script, good director, and a Big Star know for a specific type of comedy is forced on you. It ruins the movie.… Full Review »
Apr 3, 2011Greenberg is a brutally honest and raw look at what is is like to wake up and be 40 and realize your life is not what you expected and you aren't who you thought you would be. Ben Stiller is excellent and shows he can be more than a one trick pony. This is first time I have actually forgotten Ben was Ben in a role. He is troubled frustrated, arrogant and abrasive, acting out and inappropriate. You have to wonder why Florence would find him attractive and keep coming back for more. Brilliantly written and shot, it showcases life in LA as only one who actually lives here knows it. Jennifer Jason Leigh produced the film and as in past collaborations with Noah Baumbach show they are auteurs of creating emotional train wrecks that make us uncomfortable but can't stop watching… Full Review »
Jan 27, 2011It doesn't surprise me that, after-the-fact, I found out that this movie was directed by Noah Baumbach. The direction is unique, painfully slow at times (intentionally) and physically makes me squirm in my chair while watching because the uncomfortable things happening to the characters in this movie are entirely too real. Mid-life crisis is an understatement here. A man so arrogant that he believes he's better and deserving of so much more than he's received in life, which has turned to pure bitterness. At the same time, that bitterness is tempered with sporatic episodes of maturity and responsibility. That dichotomy results in very schizophrenic behavior toward the friends and family he loves. At times he's defensive of the mistakes he's made that brought him to the misery he is currently experiencing, while he also calms down and realizes that he shouldn't blame and that he, in fact, is causing his own misery. It's painful to watch and so uncomfortable to the viewer, especially me who experiences bouts of the same thing every now and then (though to a lesser extent). One almost has to be older to appreciate what this movie is saying, but even those open to its content have to also get past the brutal way Noah brings it to the screen. The Squid and the Whale was depressing enough. It makes me wonder how depressed Noah is to consistently present this much raw pain. However, what makes the movie is its optimistic, and sweet, ending.… Full Review »