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squid and the whale

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message 1: by Jo (new)

Jo | 24 comments Am I mistaken? I thought this movie received good reviews. I was looking foward to seeing it, but was highly dissapointed as was my husband. I did enjoy seeing the scenes of my former nabe of Park Slope. Not a great movie. Am I missing something?


message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim (jim_) *This topic may include spoilers*

It's certainly not a happy or uplifting film. It was done in the same vain as Kramer vs. Kramer. I agree the movie makes you feel physically ill seeing divorce through the eyes of two children.
A lot of the literary world has applauded the film because the characters, dialogue, and setting are tight.


message 3: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) I thought it was an excellent movie. Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney are two of my favorite actors.

Not sure to tell you what you're missing since I'm not sure what your expectations were. It's a story of how painful separation and divorce are for a family.

The older son put his dad on a pedestal because he couldn't see the same faults that we could see. He blamed his mother for a lot of the reasons for the divorce, although it was both their fault. Leaving his mother and living with his father finally made him see that his father isn't perfect.

He realized at the end that his father wasn't there in most of his childhood memories; it was his mother who was there for him. The touching last scene about the museum made him see his mother in a new light.


message 4: by Jim (last edited Jun 26, 2008 01:16PM) (new)

Jim (jim_) Tressa, I liked most of your observations. I also loved the anti-climax tie-in to the older brothers worst fears, you were not clear if his fears were of his parents or there marriage personified by the Whale (Mother) and the Squid (Father).


message 5: by samantha (new)

samantha (samstress) i saw this movie with my husband and a friend of ours. when we came out of the theatre, it was obvious i had been quite affected by it while they just thought it was so-so. then i realized, they both have happily married parents. mine divorced when i was very young.


message 6: by Tressa (last edited Jun 26, 2008 12:42PM) (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) Jim, I was mainly commenting about his answer to the psychologist's (?) question about what was his favorite childhood memory. His answer was going to the museum and looking at the squid and the whale. The doctor asked where was his dad in that memory, and he said he didn't know, that his dad was never there much when he was younger; it was his mother who taught him and took care of him. This was a breakthrough for him because he could finally give his mother the credit she deserved, and see his father for what he really was: a semi-successful writer who's full of sh!t most of the time. (Sometimes it's hard to see just how self-centered and phony the dad is in the movie. But he truly is.)

Not long afterwards he went to the museum and looked at the squid and the whale face on, without his childhood fear of it. I guess if the animals represent his parents, then he is finally of an age when he can view them for what they really are and not what they're pretending to be, and he's no longer afraid of the divorce or forgiving his mother or standing up to his father (he left the hospital without telling his father).


message 7: by Amy (new)

Amy | 58 comments I really like this film - and my parents are divorced, so I don't know how much that plays into it. But I feel like it really captures how as a kid you can end up siding with one parent against another, or be manipulated by a parent, or of course not see the whole picture. It's just one situation that in the movie is rather dark, and involves two brothers (where I am female), but the confusion and anger that the kids feel is dead-on.


message 8: by Jim (new)

Jim (jim_) Tressa, great observations. I forgot that whole shrink "comfortably numb" punishment experience altogether.

There are so many disturbing things about that film and some hysterical things in the movie like the husband(slacker has been novelist) calling his ex-wife's boyfriend(tennis instructor) "a phillistine" and saying he's playing tennis better than ever.



message 9: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) This movie is filled with so many wonderful moments. I just love the Laura Linney characther. I know there are two sides to every story and divorce is mostly not one-sided, but other than her previous affair I didn't see where she did anything wrong. Seems like most of the blame lies squarely on her husband's shoulders. He is a JERK.

He forced himself on his student. Everything that happens turns the attention back to him and his problem and how he's feeling. When they're looking for the cat at the end, he falls over and it's all about him. He's arguing with his wife and tries to make her feel bad because he TRIED as a husband and did his part cooking and cleaning. She acts surprised and asks him when he ever cooked and he said the one time when she had pneumonia! He gives his oldest son awful advice on relationships and basically advises him to break up with his girlfriend. When his mother asks him why he broke up with her he says he thought he could do better. She is incredulous and asks him why does he think that?!He comes across as so scholarly but then he makes comments that reveals he hasn't read some of the books he's talking about. He's all shallow and surface.

But, he has his moments, too. He did leave her favorite books in the bookshelf, even though he wanted to take them with him. And he does care about the cat. Except when he feeds her the cheap food.

Was there a reason it took so long for the school officials to know that the eldest son didn't write "Comfortably Numb"? This movie took place in the seventies I believe, so maybe most adults hadn't heard this song?


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