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

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 282 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
    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. Jun 8, 2012
    this is a review. this is a review. this is a review. this is a review. this is a review. this is a review. this is a review. this is a review. this is a review. this is a review. this is a review. this is a review. this is a review. Expand
  2. Mar 22, 2011
    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 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

See all 91 User Reviews