Based on the true childhood experiences of Noah Baumbach and his brother, The Squid and the Whale tells the touching story of two young boys dealing with their parents divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980's.Okay, I can relate to that. I didn't grow up in an Ozzie and Harriet house either, but --
(1) Where is the plot? - It's a ringside seat to the daily struggles of a dysfunctional and broken family but what is the plot? It's like "Hey, take a look at these screwed up people. Mess, aren't they? Okay, good night everyone."
(2) Where are the arcs? - Each character is messed up before, during, and after the divorce. Divorce is not the cause of the dysfunction.
(3) Who are the protags and who are the antags? - Is the "divorce" supposed to be the antagonist here? Is each of the four members of the family a protag? Who am I pulling for and where are my "hurray!" moments?
(4) What about the ending? - Nothing is resolved. Was finally seeing the Squid and the Whale supposed to indicate that the older boy had broken free of his mother? Didn't need her?
I'm not dissing this film and yeah, parts of it are icky but I have a strong stomach. The film doesn't offend my conservative values or shatter my sheltered life. (HA! As if. Baumbach doesn't want to play "can you top this?" with me) I am simply trying to understand what makes The Squid and the Whale a story and an Oscar caliber screenplay.
Thoughts? Illuminations? Teach me, people!