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Margot at the Wedding (2007), Noah Baumbach, C

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, June 23rd, 2008

I think I’m harsher on Margot at the Wedding because it is so close to being a good movie. The deft and succinct pacing that made The Squid and the Whale so successful is on display, but there’s just nothing….interesting….happening here. I’m not averse to stories about rich people whining about relationships. I’m fond of all those faux-Bergman films Woody Allen made in the 90s. But there’s got to be unique situations up there on the screen to hang all your technique around. You can have all the marvelous acting in the world but if there’s nothing as basic as something for your actors to do it gets tired real fast.

I mean – to the people who saw this movie – other than Kidman getting stuck up in a tree, do you remember any particular scenes in this movie? Feh.

2 Comments »

  1. I remember hella particular scenes from this movie.

    You don’t seem to be making the most common objection to this film, which is that none of the characters are likeable. Which seems to me a pretty insipid complaint, because who says characters need to be likeable in order to be interesting? But OK, you’re just saying you didn’t find them interesting. But you DO find the characters in those third-rate Woody Allen shitfests interesting? Maybe you and I are just on different planets.

    I appreciate the fact that Baumbach resides in a similar universe as Allen but instead of glorifying that world, constantly points out how destructive and cruel it is. That’s the key distinction I think and maybe that’s what you’re uncomfortable with. In “Squid” that message was softened by the hopeful conclsuion but “Margot” stays brutal to the bitter end.

    Not unlike There Will Be Blood, I think this movie might be best approached as a kind of horror film, with Kidman’s Margot being one of the most terrifying villains in recent memory. She’s pure monster. I was more frightened of her than of Daniel Plainview and Anton Chigurh combined. Kidman is, I think, the most talented actress of the female Hollywood A-list today. Pretty much hands-down.

    I also think Baumbach writes terrific dialogue–verbose without feeling contrived or unnatural.

    I agree that it’s not nearly on the level of “Squid,” which I think is one of the key films of the decade, but I do think it’s a totally fascinating, if flawed (casting Jack Black was a mistake…his big emotional scenes read like he’s playing for laffs) bit of bourgsploitation.

    Comment by James Grunt — June 25, 2008 @ 10:17 pm

  2. Wow. My favorite part of Squid and The Whale was when I went to get popcorn in the middle and had to wait in line ten minutes.

    Really had an adverse reaction to it.

    Comment by Leslie — July 9, 2008 @ 8:29 pm

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