Jennifer Jason Leigh
The main difference is that the characters in THE SQUID AND THE WHALE were at least sympathetic deep down. If you canít connect to anybody then the movie is going to leave you stranded, which is completely the case with MARGOTóthough itís not an issue with the acting. Kidman as a bemused, often terrible mother is at the best weíve seen her in years (although given her choice in projects recently, thatís not high enough a compliment). Iíve always been a fan of the underrated Jennifer Jason Leigh and her innate likeability made her character the closest thing to someone worth rooting for. And then thereís Jack Black, who does his usual comedic routine with a welcome dramatic flair.
While the performances are superb across the board, I didnít find myself really drawn to or compelled by anybody. And how could you, with every living entity in this movie constantly fighting, acting bizarre, and arguing over each other to the point where you want to collectively strangle them. Other times the characters are too transparent and self-analytical, announcing their thoughts and motives and doing the work for you. The film lacks so much needed subtlety that it ceases being enjoyable (though Iím not even sure Baumbach wants you to).
The one thing Baumbach does have a talent for is effortlessly balancing drama and comedy. The filmís humor is quirky and amusing (wouldnít really call it ďfunnyĒ), but at the same time surprisingly dark. While tone plays a big part, itís still hard to make a cohesive film out of snippets of pure dysfunction. And I mean literal snippets; MARGOT is comprised entirely of short, random vignettes. On one hand itís interesting to see a movie without a traditional plot or arc, just a connection of seemingly pointless bits that slowly builds the characters, but the format and lack of empathy makes it a chore to get through.
There are a couple parts of the mess that are good (I actually kind of like the ending, if you can call it that) and some nice moments come out of the random bitterness, but you really have to be in the mood for something as grating as MARGOT AT THE WEDDING.
Trailers and Previews.
Extra Tidbit: Noah Baumbach and Jennifer Jason Leigh are married in real life.