User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 291 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 65 out of 291
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  1. Mar 22, 2011
    0
    The mother is totally fake, Jeff Daniels looks like he is not sure if this is supposed to be a comedy or something more serious. What a bore of a movie..I fell asleep after five minutes, so at least I got a good nap out of it. When it is clear from the get go that both parents are headcases, you can be sure that you are in for 90 minutes of agony. It evades me how this flick gets the raveThe mother is totally fake, Jeff Daniels looks like he is not sure if this is supposed to be a comedy or something more serious. What a bore of a movie..I fell asleep after five minutes, so at least I got a good nap out of it. When it is clear from the get go that both parents are headcases, you can be sure that you are in for 90 minutes of agony. It evades me how this flick gets the rave reviews it did. I am going to pick up my video camera this afternoon and shoot random stuff, ask random people random questions, and you can be sure it's going to be a lot more interesting than this... Expand
  2. Steve
    Mar 25, 2008
    2
    I couldn't say it any better than D.A. Floyd, but I'd add the charge that the director depicted sex, both in language (cunts?) and action (12-year-old masturbation, girl-friend giving a handjob to boyfriend?) than was necessary. Is this child of the 60s turning into a prude in his old age? Don't think so. Just keep on asking why sex keeps on getting so much more emphasis I couldn't say it any better than D.A. Floyd, but I'd add the charge that the director depicted sex, both in language (cunts?) and action (12-year-old masturbation, girl-friend giving a handjob to boyfriend?) than was necessary. Is this child of the 60s turning into a prude in his old age? Don't think so. Just keep on asking why sex keeps on getting so much more emphasis than the story needs. As for example: in Babel, the Mexican nanny being groped at her son's wedding; in Nowhere in Africa, the husband and wife making love, both totally nude. How does either contribute to the story? In contrast, and to show how sex and passion can be better portrayed, see The Illusionist. What's my point, finally, if not already clear? That what makes movies like Squid-Whale gripping is the voyeurism that titillates us. Without it, just another (yes, well acted) flick. Expand
  3. D.A.Floyd
    Jul 2, 2006
    2
    Far be it from me to suggest that a feature film should tell a story rather than submit its audience to self-indulgent scab-ripping. I sat through this film because the actors did a decent job with what is in essence directorial psychic masturbation captured on celluloid. I refuse to give credit to a film ONLY for being "real," as if leaving the camcorder running in divorce court Far be it from me to suggest that a feature film should tell a story rather than submit its audience to self-indulgent scab-ripping. I sat through this film because the actors did a decent job with what is in essence directorial psychic masturbation captured on celluloid. I refuse to give credit to a film ONLY for being "real," as if leaving the camcorder running in divorce court constitutes art. And while it is entirely possible for a "painful" film to be excellent, one cannot mistake pain for excellence. The film WAS painful to watch, and the acting WAS above average. However, there was nothing in the film to redeem the painful experience. Is the "message" is that married adults divorcing in an orgy of narcissism harms the psychological development of children? So am I supposed to thank the director for poking me in the eye with a stick to convey the painfully obvious? It is so easy to immagine why many soi-disant critics would feel compelled to applaud this film. Only in certain circles it is it considered "edgy" to suggest that one should not commit adultery and that divorce is a grave offense againt natural law. For those who do not know this, the film might pummel some sense into them. For the rest of us this film rarely transcends the graphic accident films adolescents are forced to endure before getting behind the wheel. Expand
  4. EdgarP.
    Apr 21, 2006
    1
    Extremely unpleasant and ugly. You will have to shower after watching it.
  5. FredB.
    Apr 15, 2006
    2
    When the credits rolled, we all said, "That's it???" We had started in the middle of some folks' lives, and that's where we ended up, with nothing resolved. [***SPOILERS***] Along the way we suffered through the miseries of a dysfunctional family (oh THAT'S fun to watch...), parents who allow their children to drink at home and use foul langage, some bizarre solo When the credits rolled, we all said, "That's it???" We had started in the middle of some folks' lives, and that's where we ended up, with nothing resolved. [***SPOILERS***] Along the way we suffered through the miseries of a dysfunctional family (oh THAT'S fun to watch...), parents who allow their children to drink at home and use foul langage, some bizarre solo sexual activity of a young man that will make many folks uncomfortable, and a father whose PhD makes him feel he knows more than anyone else. But most of all we wondered ... what's wrong with those critics? "Treacherously funny" - no. "Steering clear of phony melodrama" - ha! "Payoff will have you smiling" - NOT! Only good acting saves this from being rated a 0 or 1. Expand
  6. ScottV.
    Apr 11, 2006
    1
    This is one of the worst movies I've ever seen, but sadly it's too gross to be entertainingly bad. The main problem is that two of the characters (older son and mother) seem to be played as flawed but sympathetic characters while the other two (father and younger son) are more like walking parodies. In a nearly plotless, psychological movie like this, walking parodies are the This is one of the worst movies I've ever seen, but sadly it's too gross to be entertainingly bad. The main problem is that two of the characters (older son and mother) seem to be played as flawed but sympathetic characters while the other two (father and younger son) are more like walking parodies. In a nearly plotless, psychological movie like this, walking parodies are the bull in the china shop and tear the entire movie down around them. Particularly disturbing is the younger son, who seems to show every sign of sexual abuse but instead of exploring or even just explaining this, the movie plays it up for "comic relief". Your life will be better having never seen that. Expand
  7. JohnB.
    Apr 3, 2006
    1
    I really like Jeff Daniels and had high hopes for this film-but let's be honest-this thing is a mess from the opening lame tennis scene to the pitifil ending. The actors really sleepwalked thru this-and with good reason. The script is shallow, predictible and worst of all-boring. If you want a good script about marital discord, see The Weatherman. Not perfect, but infinately better I really like Jeff Daniels and had high hopes for this film-but let's be honest-this thing is a mess from the opening lame tennis scene to the pitifil ending. The actors really sleepwalked thru this-and with good reason. The script is shallow, predictible and worst of all-boring. If you want a good script about marital discord, see The Weatherman. Not perfect, but infinately better in every category than this fiasco. Collapse
  8. John
    Mar 26, 2006
    1
    Vapid characters--vapid storyline--vapid sophmoric sexyality--vapid waste of time.
  9. KyleW.
    Jan 29, 2006
    2
    Analougous to Rent, why should one care about the parents!?
  10. George
    Jan 17, 2006
    1
    The only good part of this film came at the end when you see the Squid and The Whale in the Museum of Natural History. A tour of the museum would have been so much for interesting than this lifeless bore of a movie.
  11. Ladyfinger
    Jan 11, 2006
    0
    Undeniably Real? C'mon undeniably boring is more like it. Movies are to be enjoyed and invoke the viewers emotions. This was tedious and prosaic in which I had no empathy or feelings for any of the characters. It was forgotten the minute I left the theater. Awful.
  12. CongoGongo
    Jan 9, 2006
    0
    Refund!
  13. peters.
    Jan 7, 2006
    2
    Shallow, single dimensional characters. very disappointing.
  14. HeatherW.
    Jan 3, 2006
    3
    I was looking forward to seeing this movie because so many of my favorite critics liked it, but, boy, was I disappointed. The characters border on characture (esp. the father), and all of them (except the younger brother) were pretty unlikeable. Not that I have to like characters to like a movie, but there has to be *something* that draws me in. This just really didn't. Acting was I was looking forward to seeing this movie because so many of my favorite critics liked it, but, boy, was I disappointed. The characters border on characture (esp. the father), and all of them (except the younger brother) were pretty unlikeable. Not that I have to like characters to like a movie, but there has to be *something* that draws me in. This just really didn't. Acting was all right, but the writing/story was self-indulgent and annoying. Expand
  15. AndyP.
    Jan 3, 2006
    0
    Came away very unimpressed. Not worthy of your time or money. Avoid.
  16. WilliamL.
    Jan 2, 2006
    3
    Why the critics liked this is a mystery. Lame story, below average script, pointless, acting O/K. for material. 6 of us adults who went agreed.
  17. Rickie
    Jan 1, 2006
    0
    I see everyone either loved or hated this movie. Put me in the camp that thought this was one giant boring movie made only by some good actors to collect a paycheck. Awful.
  18. Leslie
    Dec 31, 2005
    0
    Pukesville!
  19. PaulH.
    Dec 17, 2005
    1
    Great actors in a nonsensical role doing nothing. Nice if you pay to see this as all they do is rob and take your money. Much ado about nothing here.
  20. Floyd
    Dec 16, 2005
    0
    In an nutshell this film sucked pure and simple. Enough said.
  21. ElizabethW.
    Dec 15, 2005
    1
    Awful!
  22. Squall
    Dec 15, 2005
    1
    Can't understand the hype on this movie. It's only appeal is to snobbish intellectuals; but haivng said that, the relationship between the coming of age ex-wife and her dimwit boyfriend is simply laughable. As for the moronic husband and dysfunctional children the less said the better. This is a very prosaic movie and a waste of your time and money. In a word: Awful!
  23. TomS
    Dec 12, 2005
    2
    This was a movie with a great cast. But the film went nowhere. Not one of the characters was sympathetic, and not one of them grew in any sense during the course of the film. It was like watching 90 minutes of misery arriving at the insightful conclusion that "divorce is hard." Save your money.
  24. Lisa
    Dec 12, 2005
    1
    Bland boring disgusting movie about a family coming apart at the seams and no one doing a damn thing about it. The acting was okay but nothing made much sense including the wife/mother coming of age and taking up with a moronic teaching tennis pro who had an IQ the equivalent of the Squid and the Whale, pehaps a shade below. And as for the younger son, please. I do not need to see him Bland boring disgusting movie about a family coming apart at the seams and no one doing a damn thing about it. The acting was okay but nothing made much sense including the wife/mother coming of age and taking up with a moronic teaching tennis pro who had an IQ the equivalent of the Squid and the Whale, pehaps a shade below. And as for the younger son, please. I do not need to see him masterbating and spreading his future children on doors, books and whatever. The father and the older son were both complete losers as was this distasteful movie. Expand
  25. J.
    Dec 11, 2005
    0
    This was so awful there aren't any words to describe it. Just your average dysfunctional family on the rocks and headed to oblivion.
  26. Reggierr
    Nov 18, 2005
    0
    Where is the young son when you need him. He should share his joy all over this movie as he did to the books, etc. Horrible.
  27. GilW
    Nov 15, 2005
    1
    I went to see this movie with great expectations, but left the theater with the feeling of being robbed. The acting boardered on amatuerish from everyone involved. The story was choppy and lacked fluidity. What movie were the critics watching? I was very bored and fought to keep myself awake.
  28. ElizabethW.
    Oct 25, 2005
    3
    Awful!
  29. Squallie
    Oct 25, 2005
    2
    Depressing film about a confused family with a horrible father and promiscuous mother. As a result, it is not unexpected that both brothers are totally screwed up. Filmed as if a documentary by a hand held camera with a great deal of meaningless dialogue thrown in. Everything is predictable and downright depressing. Not worthy of your time.
  30. RamonaC.
    Oct 25, 2005
    1
    Went to see this on the recommendation of a friend. Usually, I find his opinions and recommendations excellent. As my father once told me, you can't win them all. Depressing amateurish film with two great lead actors. Not much to work with here. Sorry Stanley.
  31. JanetS.
    Oct 25, 2005
    0
    Great actors earning a paycheck nothing more. Five minutes driving around looking for a parking spot. Two minutes at the Museum Of Natural History. Five minutes watching tennis lessons from an idiot. Ten minutes looking at the walls of delapidated apartment in Brooklyn. Camera jumping up and down as if taken by an amateur. And a story only the author and his family could like as the Great actors earning a paycheck nothing more. Five minutes driving around looking for a parking spot. Two minutes at the Museum Of Natural History. Five minutes watching tennis lessons from an idiot. Ten minutes looking at the walls of delapidated apartment in Brooklyn. Camera jumping up and down as if taken by an amateur. And a story only the author and his family could like as the father and mother are losers as are their children. This may be the most overrated depressing film about a screwed up family ever. If you are on Prosac or Crack perhaps you will find it amusing. As for me I found it to be the pits. Hated it. Expand
  32. TeddyA.
    Oct 25, 2005
    0
    Saw this movie yesterday evening. I have to tell you, I thought the story was ludicrous, predictable and moronic. Here's a successful writer in the mother hooking up with an idiot teaching tennis pro. The father, if you could call him that, is a loser with a miserable personality who is totally self absorbed. Their children are totally screwed up with such dysfunctionable parents as Saw this movie yesterday evening. I have to tell you, I thought the story was ludicrous, predictable and moronic. Here's a successful writer in the mother hooking up with an idiot teaching tennis pro. The father, if you could call him that, is a loser with a miserable personality who is totally self absorbed. Their children are totally screwed up with such dysfunctionable parents as their family. As for the film, it appeared as shot from a hand held video camera by an amateur. All it really succeeds in is therapy for its sorry author by telling his story. It's too bad to even be believed. Not to worry, as this is nothing more than a home movie and will disappear quickly. You have been warned. Avoid. Expand
  33. Detroit
    Oct 20, 2005
    3
    Great acting but not much more. Depressing as hell and shot as if it were a home movie. Not worth your trouble.
  34. Fantasy
    Oct 19, 2005
    1
    This is a movie not even a mother could love. It tells the story about a dysfunctional family living in Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY in the 19080's. First there's the father played by a self pretentious Jeff Daniels. He's a failed author, devoid of any and all personality, who is self absorbed, arrogant, a selfish cheap bastard who cares nothing about anyone other than himself. This is a movie not even a mother could love. It tells the story about a dysfunctional family living in Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY in the 19080's. First there's the father played by a self pretentious Jeff Daniels. He's a failed author, devoid of any and all personality, who is self absorbed, arrogant, a selfish cheap bastard who cares nothing about anyone other than himself. He tries desperately to recapture his youth by befriending and then bedding a twenty-year old coed college student. If this isn't bad enough, he's brainwashed his eldest son, a teenager, to become his clone at the expense of his son. His younger son Frank is treated like a second class citizen and hates his father so much that he spends his time masturbating throughout the movie spreading it on books, walls, and any other place just to get some attention, albeit negative. The elder preferred son hates his mother, does his father's bidding up until the point that he's finally ready for a welcome dose of Dr. Kervorkian's suicide? The mother played by Laura Linney is a plain Jane. She wears no makeup but sticks it to her husband by having become a successful writer. She sleeps with any and all that cross her path including, but not limited to, friends of her children. She takes up with a teaching tennis pro who has the IQ of an amoebae and acts the part. His only line is the word "Brother." The moral of this poor excuse for a motion picture is it's better to get eaten by a Squid or a Whale then to endure this type of family environment. The same could be said for the the audience who pays admission to watch this crapola. Avoid. Expand
  35. wendy
    Oct 19, 2005
    0
    Hated this dysfunctional family especially the father and the older son. As for the boring tennis pro, all I can do is repeat his ONLY line throughout this dreadful movie...BROTHER! Yuk!
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. 80
    Tender, cruel, and very funny, Baumbach's fourth feature turns family history into a sort of urban myth.
  2. 80
    Baumbach crams an impressive amount of characterization and humor into 82 minutes.
  3. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    70
    Pic makes up in strong performances and wry observation what it sometimes lacks in narrative drive. Result is a perceptive (and unexpectedly moving) portrait of lives in crisis.