Margot at the Wedding Noah Baumbach

Margot at the Wedding Noah Baumbach
Hearing Noah Baumbach and Jennifer Jason Leigh, his wife and co-star of Margot At the Wedding, interview each other in this DVD’s only real extra (other than some trailers) is an unsatisfying back and forth that avoids getting dirty and digging into the sociological illness of the film’s dysfunctional family. I was looking for more, primarily a commentary that delved into the deeper psychological underpinnings, to educate me on any of the things I’m dying to know — which is mostly whether Baumbach dug this story out of the same deeply scorned place we assume he found the brilliant, Oscar-nominated script for The Squid and the Whale. The parallels are uncanny, but the deeply complex relationships in Margot are surprisingly even more — pardon my French — seriously fucked up. Successful short story author Margot (Nicole Kidman) drags her son Claude (Zane Pais) to her old family home in the Hamptons to witness her sister Pauline (Leigh) marry boyfriend Malcolm (Jack Black). It seems like a pretty harmless scenario but Margot disapproves of Malcolm, and while away is also hatching a plan to leave her husband and son for occasional flame Dick (Ciaran Hinds), while using the reunion with Pauline as another shot to revisit their endless petty battle for sibling superiority. She is a neurotic, fire-breathing monster who uses acute honesty and callous criticism to make herself feel better and, as far as she’s concerned, upgrade the life of those she attacks. But she’s a magnificent beast, filled with shock and awe tactics that alone make this film a joy to watch. While Margot At the Wedding has been deemed a failure because of its predecessor’s achievements, the reliance on the work of Eric Rohmer and a surplus of mean spirited and non-redeeming qualities, there are plenty of rewards to be found in Baumbach’s script (it’s just too bad he’s reluctant to say so himself). It’s cutthroat and ugly, but also completely haphazard and hilarious. Just like any good family get-together. (Paramount Vantage)