Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Squid and The Whale (2005)

"If I pet your tuft, will you pet mine?"

Genre: Drama Comedy

Starring: Jeff Daniels (Good Night And Good Luck; Pleasantville), Laura Linney (The Truman Show; The Exorcism Of Emily Rose)

Directed By: Noah Baumbauch

Overview: When a couple separates, we follow the trials and tribulations of joint custody and how they affect Mom, Dad and their two boys.

Acting: The caliber of acting in this is damn good. Jeff Daniels plays a good jerk, his eldest son a good lazy intellectual, his ex wife a mildly emotional voice of reason, and their youngest child plays a nice little confused, binge drinking chronic masturbator. Even Baldwin plays the jocky, goofy urban tennis teacher just right. We're happy.
Rating: 8

Cinematography: The look of the film is pretty standard fare. No special effects, no artistic shots, just a simply told story. I'd say it's better for it, but that goes under mood now doesn't it? Good and professional, but nothing special.
Rating: 7

Script: This won best screenplay for 2005 at the Sundance Film Festival. Know what? I believe it. Each character is so precisely written to fit a very different sort of person, even though they're in the same family. Dialogue is the prevalent thing in this film, and the little 'parental speeches' and the little character defining moments? Brilliant.
Rating: 9

Plot: The story unfolds very well thank you. The end was a tiny bit abrupt, but not lacking in any closure. Seems like a standard 5 act tale, and it's original enough to spark the mind while being common enough for everyone to get it. A pretty honest, yet light-hearted look at divorce and how it can affect everyone involved.
Rating: 8

Mood: The mood was a touch enhanced by the fact that it was set in the late 80s, however more music would have made it better, though 'Hey You' had a nice ring to it as a theme song. I sort of forgot we weren't current from time to time. The fact that there were no distracting artistic shots and show offs or special effects kept the tale simple, made it more about the characters, yes, but I still like to see the odd neat little thing, like this writer did for The Life Aquatic.
Rating: 7

"I think... I'm losing myself into your eyes... Mmmm..."

Overall Rating: 78% (A Whale of a Good Time)

Aftertaste: I can really call 'em. I knew this would be good, and I really liked it. Top quality production, while yet knowing that it wouldn't be a personal favorite. Anyone who likes a serious drama about divorce with a couple laughs will enjoy it. Nowhere near as heavy as Kramer vs. Kramer.