Ato reviews The Squid & The Whale

Let me introduce you to the newest contributor to the blog, Ato, here he is reviewing the movie “The Squid and the Whale”.

Today, I’d like to talk about an independent film I watched recently entitled “The Squid and the Whale” staring Jeff Daniels (Bernard), Laura Linney (Joan), Jesse Eisenburg (Walt), and Owen Kline (Frank).  This story  takes place in Brooklyn in 1986, is about a family who is splitting up.  Bernard and Joan now have their own house and try to have their own lives, but have to share their two kids.  As the story progresses, the kids dig up their parents history and realize that each other isn’t as pure as they once thought.  Now each kid deals with the divorce in his own way. Walt who is dealing with everything a teenager does, school and girls, is constantly confused do to his own parents break up and the not sure of what to do, and even lashes out at his mother to take sides with his dad.  Unlike his much younger brother who is just discovering masturbation and drinking and seems to take sides with his mother and protest his father.

As I watched the movie, I felt like I wasn’t entirely sure whose story it was.  It could have been more about how the parents dealing with the breakup and what they have to do about their kids who are stuck in the middle.  But then again, I was also feeling like it was a story about their children, how they are dealing with the breakup and their parents who are trying to hold onto them.  Even though I couldn’t find a central character to sympathize with, I can tell you it is a story about a family.

However, out of all the characters, the character I personally did get into the most was the eldest son Walt who is about age 17.  He’s in high school and deals with discovering girls, he’s unsure about himself and very insecure about what is going on in his own head.  He is in my opinion the most interesting of the characters, but he isn’t the main focus of the movie.

The movie has some really good moments of fighting with in the family, as well as some very dramatic “oh my god” moments.  The movie was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 2006 Academy Awards, and while I was watching the film, I can see why.  The writing was excellent with very raw and truthful moments of life.  The story does a very good thing of having an uplifting moments followed by a hard dramatic downfall.

I can tell you that, if you haven’t realized it already by this review, it’s not an uplifting movie.  However go check out the film.  It is well done and along with the four main actors it also has two other known actors, William Baldwin and Anna Paquin.  On a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is the best, I’d have to give it a 7.

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