Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Squid and the Whale

There's a scene towards the end of The Squid and the Whale where the older son tells the school counselor one good memory he has, and that's when he and his mother visited the huge display of a giant squid fighting a whale at the American Museum of Natural History. It's a moving moment, and the only time I felt moved during this entire movie.

It's not a bad movie. With its raw dialogue and tough situations, it's just painful to watch.

A college professor and equally esteemed writer decide after many years to separate and then divorce, leaving in their wake two children who act out and are encouraged to take sides in the dispute. The two parents are so inappropriate in their behavior towards each other and the children that the children show obvious signs of stress.

If you want a primer on how not to be a parent, watch The Squid and the Whale. The father is an egotist, a pseudo-intellectual who thinks he's right in everything, and the older son wants to be just like him, so much to an extent that he tells his new girlfriend that she has too many freckels. The mother tells her kids about the affairs she has had during her marriage, and, almost as a reply, the younger son leaves his masturbatory waste on the walls of the school library.

Would you want to watch this?

The only reason I chose the film is because of the fine work by actors Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney. This movie does not disappoint in that realm, but it's hard to enjoy their good work among what feels like real ruins of a marriage.

Thumb's down.


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