Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. USA, 2005. Samuel Goldwyn Films, Sony Pictures International, Destination Films, Truly Original, Ambush Entertainment, Andrew Lauren Productions, American Empirical Pictures, Peter Newman Productions, InterAL, Seven Hills Pictures, Squid and Whale Inc.. Screenplay by Noah Baumbach. Cinematography by Robert D. Yeoman. Produced by Wes Anderson, Charlie Corwin, Clara Markowicz, Peter Newman. Music by Britta Phillips, Dean Wareham. Production Design by Anne Ross. Costume Design by Amy Westcott. Film Editing by Tim Streeto. Podcast Episodes: My Criterions. Academy Awards 2005. American Film Institute 2005. Golden Globe Awards 2005. Independent Spirit Awards 2005. New York Film Critics Awards 2005. Toronto International Film Festival 2005.
Noah Baumbach’s provides a beautiful glimpse at awkward adolescence in this perfectly understated film. Jesse Eisenberg perfectly plays a teenager who worships his conceited father (Jeff Daniels) and resents his confused mother (Laura Linney). When his parents announce that they are getting a divorce, Eisenberg decides that his mother’s sudden success in writing, contrasted to his father’s career coming to a painful stand-still, is a key factor to their demise, and puts the blame of it entirely on her. Meanwhile, his little brother (Owen Kline, son of Kevin and Phoebe Cates) is going through an awkward development of his own in trying to find a way to express the sudden anguish that comes upon him with the pain of joint custody living. Eisenberg’s journey to understanding who his parents are is a tender portrait of burgeoning youth, and what Baumbach does best is to allow the characters’ realizations to show without ever indulging in needless explanations. Linney is superbly likable, while Daniels does the best job he’s ever done of being so repulsively arrogant. Also features a hilarious supporting performance by William Baldwin, who seems a lot more comfortable now as an aging goof than he ever did as a hot young property.