Squid and the Whale

The Squid and the Whale (Special Edition)"Squid and the Whale" is an interesting if ultimately incomplete look at his own parents' divorce by Noah Baumbach, the writer and director of the film. This is a thorny little film about flawed parents, flawed parenting and flawed children that may or may not, ultimately, have been a result of their parents' childishness. Peppered with great dialogue and flowing narrative, Baumbach is able to create and expose the ultimate paradox of parenting and even adulthood: smart people rarely make good relationships and even more rarely make good parents. The type of unselfish dedication and nurturing that children require often calls for slowness of spirit or its complete surrendering, or both, that most modern smart folks, find crushingly difficult even if not necessary so consciously.

The film features an excellent Jeff Daniels whose transformation into Jeff Bridges seems complete now. He portrays what would be a poster-child of inept parenting. Laura Linney as a haggard mother shows excellent bottled-up emotion but her character is largely unexplored. And the kids, the real subject of the film, portray the kind of psychological scars that parents unwittingly leave on their kids, and do a great job at that. While the younger one breaks down completely, it is the slow dismantling of the elder boy that Baumbach, almost autobiographically, does an excellent job at.

Wes Anderson is the co-producer of this film and that was a refreshing site as the credits rolled on. It is good to see him support work of others that clearly reflects the awkward but ultimately unique style that he almost invented in the last decade.