The Squid and the Whale (2005)

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In 1986, In Brooklyn, New York, the dysfunctional family of pseudo intellectuals composed by the university professor Bernard and the prominent writer Joan split. Bernard is a selfish, cheap and jealous decadent writer that rationalizes every attitude in his family and life and does not accept "philistines" - people that do not read books or watch movies, while the unfaithful Joan is growing as a writer and has no problems with "philistines". Their sons, the teenager Walt and the boy Frank, feel the separation and take side: Walt stays with Bernard, and Frank with Joan, and both are affected with abnormal behaviors. Frank drinks booze and smears with sperm the books in the library and a locker in the dress room of his school. The messed-up and insecure Walt uses Roger Water's song "Hey You" in a festival as if it was of his own, and breaks with his girlfriend Sophie...
Owen Kline as Frank Berkman
Jeff Daniels as Bernard Berkman
Laura Linney as Joan Berkman
Jesse Eisenberg as Walt Berkman
William Baldwin as Ivan
David Benger
Anna Paquin as Lili
Molly Barton as Graduate Student
Bo Berkman as Graduate Student
Matthew Kaplan as Graduate Student
Simon Kaplan as Graduate Student
Matthew Kirsch as Graduate Student
Daniella Markowicz as Graduate Student
Elizabeth Meriwether as Graduate Student
Ben Schrank as Graduate Student
Full cast

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Noah Baumbach's insightful, seeringly realistic portrait of a family in a downward spiral after an initial separation of mother and father (intensely realized by both Laura Linney and Jeff Daniels) is an immensely engrossing film. Based on many autobiographical incidents from his own life, Baumbach keenly envelopes his characters in a quirky atmosphere of contradiciton and consequnce. Many scenes echo the pain and frustration of growing up in a shattered household and the two young boys are well defined and sympathetic. Overall, one of the finest domestic dramas to come out of Hollywoods in years!!

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