Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 37 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 283 Ratings

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  • Summary: The Squid and the Whale captures with extraordinary immediacy the inner workings of the Berkman family in 1986 Brooklyn.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. Steering clear of phony melodrama and indie pretense, Baumbach captures a crisis in one family's life that, though it shakes the foundation, leaves all four Berkmans drifting toward highs and lows unknown, each of them only dimly aware that, no matter what the movies tell us, we never really come of age.
  2. In hovering, The Squid and the Whale becomes its own realistic display of family entropy, as cautionary as it is educational.
  3. Acutely observed, faultlessly acted, graced with piercing emotion and unsparing honesty, it will make you laugh because you can't bear to cry.
  4. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    88
    The young actors' performances are particularly haunting.
  5. 80
    Baumbach crams an impressive amount of characterization and humor into 82 minutes.
  6. 80
    Tender, cruel, and very funny, Baumbach's fourth feature turns family history into a sort of urban myth.
  7. The absence of any nuance in the father's character bespeaks the filmmaker's unwillingness to trust his audience. Making the movie may have been therapeutic for him, but I can't say the same about watching it.

See all 37 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 54 out of 91
  2. Negative: 35 out of 91
  1. eleanorj
    Oct 23, 2005
    10
    Amazing film. hilarious and heartbreaking. best acting perfomances by JD and LL. rich characters - wanted to see more.
  2. BobA.
    Jan 16, 2006
    10
    I'll never understand people who hate a movie because the characters are unlikable (I suppose that would also make Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Citizen Kane bad) as if the point of every movie is to make you like the characters. The story (with its, yes, awful characters) has something truly honest to say. Expand
  3. CamiK.
    Jan 14, 2007
    10
    Brilliant, superbly acted, and rivetting throughout.
  4. MarthaR.
    Dec 24, 2005
    8
    A cautionary tale for divorcing parents who consider themselves "intellectual."
  5. 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 all right, but the writing/story was self-indulgent and annoying. Expand
  6. EdgarP.
    Apr 21, 2006
    1
    Extremely unpleasant and ugly. You will have to shower after watching it.
  7. 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! Expand

See all 91 User Reviews