Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics What's this?

User Score
5.2

Mixed or average reviews- based on 129 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Roger Greenberg, single, fortyish and at a crossroads in his life, finds himself in Los Angeles, house-sitting for six weeks for his more successful/married-with-children brother. In search of a place to restart his life, Greenberg tries to reconnect with old friends including his former bandmate Ivan. But old friends aren't necessarily still best friends, and Greenberg soon finds himself spending more and more time with his brother's personal assistant Florence, an aspiring singer and also something of a lost soul. Despite his best attempts not to be drawn in, Greenberg and Florence manage to forge a connection, and Greenberg realizes he may at last have found a reason to be happy. (Focus Features) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. 90
    It is the funniest and saddest movie Mr. Baumbach has made so far, and also the riskiest.
  2. Baumbach's movies are addictive dispatches from a genteel jungle of white privilege, where highly educated people behave badly. I can't take my eyes off the exotic wildlife.
  3. 75
    Why would you watch a film about a creep like Greenberg? Well, aside from the fact that it’s well-done and intense and occasionally funny (in a dark, dark way, mind you), there’s the sneaking suspicion that there’s a little of this fellow in all of us, and self-knowledge of that sort is a gift that, often, only art can give.
  4. What saves it, however, is Gerwig. The love story ain’t credible, but her performance is, perfectly capturing a young woman who doesn’t lack confidence so much as a sense of self.
  5. There's no hard-and-fast rule that says you have to like the main character in a movie. It's more a custom, really - a custom that Ben Stiller stretches nearly to the breaking point in Greenberg.
  6. 50
    Stiller plays a monster, and when Gerwig goes for him, declaring that she sees his tender side, the development seems like a fond indulgence on the part of writer-director Noah Baumbach.

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 48
  2. Negative: 23 out of 48
  1. Apr 3, 2011
    10
    Greenberg 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 Expand
  2. TerryM
    Apr 14, 2010
    9
    Much better than I thought, judging from the low reviews here. A moment in the life of a forty-year-old that probably rings true for many. (You know who you are). Expand
  3. Sep 28, 2010
    8
    In an evident time of depression, several modern Independent filmmakers have focused on the lowliness and deadbeats of society. Noah Baumbach's exceptional Greenberg focuses on a 40 year old one time musician (Ben Stiller) who has just been released from a mental hospital. When attempting to adjust to society, he faces a living that honestly emulates the emotion of present day urban life in its dismal state. And taking on a similar position of most Indie films, the film conveys that love can still be present in any circumstance.

    The film commences with a quirky Steve Miller Band song that undoubtedly contrasts with the rest of the movie. The audience is then introduced to Roger Greenberg, who is returning to his native Los Angeles to house sit for his brother. Greenberg is a loser; This can be seen as he reconnects with his past acquaintances who have, unlike himself, moved on from their dreams and faced the responsibility of life. But although it seems as if Stiller's character has nothing going for him, he develops subtle fondness with his brother's assistant who is played by Greta Gerwig. The film then balances between Greenberg's "relationships" and how he deals with the mediocrity of his existence.

    Stiller takes on a role similarly to how Jim Carrey played in "Eternal Sunshine," and almost completely matches the dramatic level in which Carrey performed. Greenberg's intricacies are played well enough to strike emotion with the audience who possess a sympathy for the character. Stiller does not act like a mainstream Hollywood actor in this film. He does not necessarily execute a good dramatic performance, but acts in a way that forms emotional depth and honesty. He is also backed with solid performances by Greta Gerwig, who performs in a direct but unstable manner, and Rhys Infans.

    Greenberg is categorized as a "Dramatic Comedy," which in fact that categorization could be seen falsely. While there are some laughs, the movie emphasizes true emotion and does not simply attempt to try to create humor. Apart from the one-liners, ("Does the pool overflow?") the movie is as dramatic as one can get. But that is what is so appealing about the movie; the shell of the movie can be assumed as a comedy but the interior is a true viewpoint of current life.

    With all positive aspects said of Greenberg, there is somewhat a sense of emptiness within plot. The film does not necessarily go anywhere. While there is some development within Greenberg's relationship, nothing really develops around the character. The film simply focuses on the beginning of Greenberg's stay in Los Angeles and the near end. While this is not a major problem as the movie is not intended to be a storyteller, but a vantage point, it prevents Greenberg from reaching near perfection.

    Greenberg is not for everyone. An average moviegoer will not find much entertainment in the story or its exterior. The gem that is in the movie, the emotional depth, must be found by analyzing the character itself. If you are not willing to think during the movie, it is best to skip Greenberg. But if you are, you will find an extraordinary film that you will be thinking about for weeks to come.
    Expand
  4. PatR
    Mar 31, 2010
    4
    This is painful to watch--cringeworthy from first to last--but well written, well-directed and well-acted. Still, why does it get a 75 score on Metacritic --it's a draining experience to watch and you are bummed when you walk out (unless you already left in the middle). Okay, these are (unfortunately) pretty real people and complex enough, not typical Hollywood stereotypes--but does that really make this worthy of all this critical praise. Are these critics all Florences at heart? (i.e., masochists)? Expand
  5. DWilly
    Mar 28, 2010
    3
    I was so, so very disappointed in this movie because I absolutely loved Noah Baumbach
  6. DanG.
    Mar 28, 2010
    2
    The best part about this flick was the cashews i snuck in. how refreshing, i thought... no explosions, no blaring fx, just a story. then it started... a snail slow pace. it'll pick up fer sure, i thought. ha! in a pig's behind! this self-absorbed (stiller, not me) creature... fresh out of a 'hospital'... trying (more at being an ass than getting civil) to put his life back together. from the look of it, he'd always been an ass. and the earwig woman... why'd she fall for him? ickypoo. don't see this movie. guaranteed to put you off your popcorn. Expand
  7. Apr 14, 2014
    0
    I want an hour and a half of my life back. There's really nothing more to say about this movie. I am posting a review hoping to save a few people from wasting their time. Expand

See all 48 User Reviews

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