film review: MARGOT AT THE WEDDING

Written & directed by Noah Baumbach
Produced by Scott Rudin
Director of Photography Harris Savides
Edited by Carol Littleton
Released by Paramount Vantage
USA. 92 min, Rated R
Cast:  Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jack Black, Zane Pais, Ciarán Hinds & John Turturro

[Article originally appeared on The Rabbi Report]

For fans of Eric Rohmer’s films, mixed feelings might be the result of Noah Baumbach’s new movie, the anticipated follow-up to 2005’s “The Squid and the Whale”. Even its title, “Margot at the Wedding”, is obviously a nod to Rohmer’s “My Night at Maud’s”, “Claire’s Knee”, and “Pauline at the Beach”, as is too much of the film’s aesthetic. Indeed, the name Pauline also happens to belong to Margot’s sister, played by Baumbach’s real-life wife, Jennifer Jason Leigh.

The entire action takes place at the seaside childhood home of Pauline and Margot, where Pauline and Malcolm (Jack Black) currently live and are about to exchange nuptials. Margot (Nicole Kidman), a New York writer, has returned after an extended period of estrangement from her sister. Also currently at odds with her husband (John Turturro in a brief but welcome turn), she arrives with their son, Claude (Zane Pais), a sensitive adolescent with a keen mommy worship complex. One can easily recognize the habits of children who grow up around unpredictable parents, like the constant eye contact to check in and the need to take care of the unstable parent. And Margot is as unstable as you get. Read more