margot at the wedding (2007)
I guess I shouldn't be surprised when I enjoy a Noah Baumbach film, especially when it's his follow-up to one of my favorite films of this decade, The Squid and the Whale</span>, but still, with all of the negative things I heard about this one before going into the theater, I was shocked at how involving it was. When people say that a film is "a slice of life", this is the kind of movie that they're talking about. Our stay with Margot at the Wedding doesn't so much begin and end as we just spend time with the characters and then have to leave. Yes, the dysfunction reminds me of aspects of my own family and that made it all go down a little easier for me than it seemed to for some people, but from a strictly cinematic standpoint, it's refreshing to see a film with characters we don't have to look up to and enjoy, but simply learn to understand and accept. It's a film like this, that makes us search for a ground on which to stand with its characters, that is ultimately more satisfying than one where we automatically "connect". It's an interesting 90-something minutes as we watch them scream, cry and slap eachother for what seems like the bulk of the run-time, but it's also held together by so much genuine emotion and, what seems like, real admissions by Baumbach that I couldn't help but be intrigued. So yeah, it's one of the better things out there right now. Definitely not for everyone, but if you're willing to give a bunch of self-centered brats your afternoon you might be surprised by what you find inside; a very fine film.