🎥 MARGOT AT THE WEDDING • 2007 • Directed by Noah Baumbach • USA • Comedy/Drama
🍅RT: 52% 🔶MetaCritic: 66
IN A SENTENCE: In trying to capture the estrangement within a family, Baumbach fusses too much and apprehends too little.
REVIEW: Noah Baumbach has made some mighty fine films beginning with 1995’s zeitgeist-capturing Kicking & Screaming all the way up to last year’s beloved Meyerowitz Stories. In the grand scheme of his filmography, MARGOT at the wedding will be considered minor, annoying work. Not that it’s exactly awful, but more like it’s exactly not great. When uptight Margot and her 11 year-old son, Claude, go to spend a weekend with her outwardly more relaxed sister, Pauline, almost everything is perturbed but the immaculate lack of insight. Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh inhabit the sisters, respectively, and manage a startlingly authentic chemistry that occurs with no one else in the film. Mind you, the ‘chemistry’ is of the volatile kind, that electric buzz of forced niceties struggling to conceal volcanic resentments. While I don’t think it’s Baumbach’s intention for us to hate Margot, the story’s inability to open, to bloom, leaves us with nothing that could establish the slightest sympathy. And while we are a bit more sympathetic to Pauline —Leigh excels at playing this kind of floundering, well-intentioned character— in the end her possibilities sit stagnant. The film’s largest problem is its general approach. Imagine, if you will, a wonderful screenplay full of dynamic shifts and inherently interesting character exposition. Now, imagine that someone decides to put down the original screenplay and write only about the unimportant stuff in between. You are now a step closer to understanding MARGOT AT THE WEDDING.
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