Roadside Attractions | Release Date: November 23, 2007
7.6
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 22 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
16
Mixed:
3
Negative:
3
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8
ChadS.Apr 25, 2008
In Noam Bambauch's "The Squid and the Whale", Walt Berkman(Jesse Eisenberg) corrects his younger brother on a New York sidewalk, when Frank(Owen Kline) talks about the "magazine" that published their mother's short story. As if the In Noam Bambauch's "The Squid and the Whale", Walt Berkman(Jesse Eisenberg) corrects his younger brother on a New York sidewalk, when Frank(Owen Kline) talks about the "magazine" that published their mother's short story. As if the smaller Berkman gives a flying f***, the bigger Berkman with the bigger brain, informs his tennis buff bro that their mother's short story came out in a "literary journal". Owen is a philistine. And later in the film, a self-proclaimed one. Ariel Schiller(Lili Taylor) is a philistine, too. Much to her father's silent chagrin, she doesn't speak his language. Heather(Lauren Ambrose) is working on a thesis, not a "book", that examines the out-of-print novels of a forgotten writer, novelist Leonard Schiller(Frank Langella). Ariel might be a yoga instructor, but she's older and wiser than Owen. Knowing full-well what was expected of a writer's daughter(named after Sylvia Plath's first book of poems), maybe Ariel purposely misspoke, to underscore Leonard's lost invitation to the pantheon of literary greats. Books are written about his contemporaries. But he's no Saul Bellow("The Adventures of Augie March"). Apparently, he wasn't much of a father either, at one time. Vestiges from this rocky past can be gleaned by the omission of an "I", when both father and daughter say they love each other("Love you," not "I love you."). In "The Squid and the Whale", we're witnesses to the storm. How children can drown in the vortex of their writer/father's megalomania. In "Starting Out in the Evening", we see the calm that comes after. More or less, Ariel survived. She's single and motherless, but far from being human wreckage. When Leonard finally relents, and admits to Heather, that his own life experiences do indeed inform his novels, its from a viewpoint of objectivity. "Starting Out in the Evening" is objective, too. Since there are no flashbacks to the earlier incarnation of this absentee dad, Leonard survives our scrutiny, our close reading, and doesn't come off as a tyrant. Expand
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6
JayH.Apr 19, 2008
I am surprised the ratings on this are so high. It's not a bad film but it sure is not an exciting one and I was bored with it at times. Finely acted though and it's a good quality film.
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1
MasonP.Dec 24, 2007
Awful, awful movie. Bad writing, bad editing, bad score, bad casting (at least in the female roles). The characters (other than Frank Langella) simply aren't believable as literary intellectuals--especially Lauren Ambrose. The writing Awful, awful movie. Bad writing, bad editing, bad score, bad casting (at least in the female roles). The characters (other than Frank Langella) simply aren't believable as literary intellectuals--especially Lauren Ambrose. The writing certainly doesn't help. The same awkward scenes played over and over--reminded me of an episode of General Hospital (with a young, handsome doctor replaced by a 70 year-old writer) on repeat. Collapse
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10
HarryL.Dec 23, 2007
Jane S., I've been waiting years to say this but "Jane, you ignorant slut" you have no idea what the difference is between romance, sex and attraction. This was a marvelous work where, by the way, English and English majors, are treated Jane S., I've been waiting years to say this but "Jane, you ignorant slut" you have no idea what the difference is between romance, sex and attraction. This was a marvelous work where, by the way, English and English majors, are treated with dignity, integrity and respect. Expand
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10
JoanDec 18, 2007
If Frank Langella isn't nominated for an Oscar for his performance in this film, then no one should be nominated. A beautifully cast and directed film...full of "real" NYC location shots and a sensitively portrayed character study of If Frank Langella isn't nominated for an Oscar for his performance in this film, then no one should be nominated. A beautifully cast and directed film...full of "real" NYC location shots and a sensitively portrayed character study of relationships. I loved it. Expand
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8
NancyO.Dec 17, 2007
Excellent and nuanced performance by Frank Langella. Lauren Ambrose was also great as the mainpulative, would-be seductress. Lili Taylor as the conflicted and weaker character of the daughter displayed the intelligence and ambiguity one Excellent and nuanced performance by Frank Langella. Lauren Ambrose was also great as the mainpulative, would-be seductress. Lili Taylor as the conflicted and weaker character of the daughter displayed the intelligence and ambiguity one would expect. Really interesting film. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
0
JaneS.Dec 15, 2007
I saw this because Ebert said it was for anyone who loved writing and literature. i didn't sign up to see a 25 year old Alice in wonderland kid have sex with a 65 year old dotard. disgusting from a young woman's point of view if I saw this because Ebert said it was for anyone who loved writing and literature. i didn't sign up to see a 25 year old Alice in wonderland kid have sex with a 65 year old dotard. disgusting from a young woman's point of view if you ask me. i nearly died. Ii hated this film, and it doesn't portray English majors favorably at all, or writers for that matter. Expand
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10
BobL.Dec 8, 2007
Brilliantly executed, with superb performances by Frank Langella and the rest of the cast. No simple truths, no simple resolutions. A thoughtful, original, impressive film.
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10
DougG.Dec 5, 2007
An outstanding film to which the whole cast made a terrific contribution, especially Frank Langella with is Oscar worthy performance. Andrew Wagner did a sensational job of directing!
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10
CommentsCommentsNov 23, 2007
This is the kind of movie Woody Allen was traveling toward around the time of crimes & misdemeanors but got upstaged by his frightful mix of ego & insecurity. The combination of wagner & parnes, plus all the great craftwork of DP, ED & This is the kind of movie Woody Allen was traveling toward around the time of crimes & misdemeanors but got upstaged by his frightful mix of ego & insecurity. The combination of wagner & parnes, plus all the great craftwork of DP, ED & COMPOSER is overdue and gratefully embraced by this moviegoer, in love with beautiful details and the care that all these professionals provide. Expand
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