"The Squid and the Whale": absorbing family drama (not a science documentary)

by lit.fic.reader@evpl on Tuesday, December 30 2008, 2:49pm. Viewed 905 times.

 After seeing it mentioned on one or two best movie lists, I decided to check out this 2005 film although I wondered if I would enjoy its story about a 1980s Brooklyn couple's decision to divorce and the resulting damage to their two sons.  I was swayed by the casting of Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney as the parents and they are indeed both excellent,  Daniels being especially compelling as the increasingly bitter husband watching his wife's star rise while his falls.  My reactions varied from reluctant sympathy for the dissolution of the couple's marriage; amusement at their almost comic diatribes and the husband's occasionally pompous comments; but mostly dismay at the parent's insensitivity to and manipulation of their sons, especially by  the father who can barely stand being bested at table tennis by his younger son.  The title is highly significant but probably not the best choice for  attracting the attention of fans of dramatic films.  The actors who play the sons are very good, and William Baldwin is also enjoyable in a smaller role as a laid-back tennis instructor. As a plus, I also found the soundtrack quite beguiling. 

This is an often heart-rending but also funny family drama, well worth your time. 


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