The Squid and the Whale (2005)

The Squid and the Whale (2005)
  • Time: 81 min
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama
  • Director: Noah Baumbach
  • Cast: Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, Anna Paquin


The patriarch (Jeff Daniels) of an eccentric Brooklyn family claims to once have been a great novelist, but he has settled into a teaching job. When his wife (Laura Linney) discovers a writing talent of her own, jealousy divides the family, leaving two teenage sons to forge new relationships with their parents. Linney’s character begins dating her younger son’s tennis coach. Meanwhile, Daniels’ character has an affair with the student his older son is pursuing.

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  • Inspired by writer/ director Noah Baumbach’s childhood experiences, The Squid and the Whale follows the story of two brothers living in Brooklyn who are caught in the middle of, and deeply affected by, the divorce of their erudite parents, Bernard (Jeff Daniels) and Joan Berkman (Laura Linney). Older sibling Walt (Jesse Eisenberg) sides with dad and acts out at school, while younger brother Frank (Owen Kline) quietly backs up mom. The household tension rises further when Joan’s writing career takes off and surpasses the failed ambitions of her professor ex-husband.

    Divorce is one of the most painful experiences a child can go through. Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale isn’t just a compelling examination of divorce but also an incisive and intimate portrayal of its effects on a family. The film is at times, visceral to watch and is both moving and hard-hitting in equal amounts.

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