Movie Of The Day: THE SQUID & THE WHALE (2005).

Posted: May 13, 2013 in Movies (S), New York, Science, Screenings

 

THE SQUID & THE WHALE (2005)

 

Here’s a movie with some personal relevance to me.  It’s not like I recognized much in THE SQUID & THE WHALE as familiar – Brooklyn is part of my family’s history but it’s not where I personally grew up, my family is smart but not remotely this pretentious, and none of the dramatic specifics of the story have much at all to do with my own upbringing – but the significance of the unusual title turned out to have a whole lot to do with my memories.

 

sperm-whale-and-giant-squid_smalldynamiclead_dynamic_lead_hero_image

 

THE SQUID & THE WHALE” refers to something that is familiar to any kid who grew up in and around New York City – the “Clash Of The Titans” exhibit in the Museum of Natural History’s Hall Of Ocean Life, wherein a giant squid grapples with a sperm whale, miles under the ocean’s surface.  In the movie, Jesse Eisenberg’s character suggests that he found this exhibit to be scary – I of course loved it.  I definitely preferred the humongous blue whale that hangs suspended over the center of the hall – I would ‘tempt fate’ by standing under it, wondering how the heck that big monster could be held up by such tiny strings.  (I loved learning about animals as a kid, but I preferred to leave physics and engineering mysterious.)

 

df_blue-whale_smalldynamiclead_dynamic_lead_hero_image

 

So it’s not the most immediately awesome title, but it carries a subtle evocativeness that I really appreciated.  Writer/director Noah Baumbach was very clever to choose a title that so serves so blatantly as a metaphor for the central conflict of his movie, but by obscuring its meaning with such a specific reference.  The movie is equally smart and thought-provoking; I’m sorry that it took me all this time to get around to seeing it, but I’m glad that it was so worthwhile once I finally did.  The performances by the young actors, Owen Kline and the now-deservedly-ubiquitous Jesse Eisenberg, are startling and brave.  Laura Linney, as their mom, is always good, and so is Jeff Daniels, one of the most quietly versatile and unfairly underrated actors anywhere in movies.  Even Anna Paquin is good in this movie.  I also really liked the sunny, autumnal NYC photography by Robert Yeoman, on loan from THE SQUID & THE WHALE‘s co-producer Wes Anderson.

 

THE SQUID & THE WHALE

 

If you’re like me and you held out this long, check this movie out.  It’s deeply personal and at times EXTREMELY uncomfortable, but somehow it’s still accessible and palatable because it gets to some really universal feelings.

 

And that museum looks so great on film.

 

Squid Vs. Whale

 

 

THE SQUID & THE WHALE is playing today at BAMcinématek as part of their series, Brooklyn Close-Up.

 

 

@jonnyabomb

 

 

 

Advertisements
Comments
  1. CMrok93 says:

    Even though I saw Frances Ha last week, this still ranks as my favorite Baumbach film so far. Good review.

  2. Steph says:

    It was a good movie.And I went in thinking I wouldn’t like it because I am not a big Laura Linney fan. But agree that Jesse Eisenberg and Owen Kline were great. It was such a real movie to me. So unlike the movies out with the unrealistic know it all kids of divorce.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s