Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Margot at the Wedding

Margot at the Wedding; Tragicomedy, USA, 2007; D: Noah Baumbach, S: Nicole Kidman, Zane Pais, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jack Black, Ciaran Hinds, John Turturro

Margot, a neurotic and self-righteous New York writer, brings her 11-year old son Claude to a rural house for a visit of her relaxed sister Pauline, who is suppose to get married to an aspiring artist, Malcolm. Margot doesn't approve of him, which causes friction between Pauline. Margot also meets her old friend, Dick, who now has a daughter, Maisy. The neighbors complain at Pauline, because they want an old tree in her yard to be cut, since its roots are "destroying" their land. As Malcolm is about to cut the tree, he admits to Pauline that he made out with a student girl. The tree falls on the wedding tent. Pauline leaves with Margot and Claude, but phones Malcolm. Claude and Margot return home with a bus.

Movies about a dysfunctional family are a dime a dozen, yet Noah Baumbach's humorous drama "Margot at the Wedding" is one of those few that deserve to be seen because of some interesting insights of human relationships caught on film (how often do you see a girl saying to a teenage kid that he has bad odor and needs to buy a deodorant on the big screen?). Depending of the viewers inclinations with the subject, this film will be either more or less interesting to them. The story about a clash of two sisters is a contemplation about the clash of two views, the elitist and casual, paving the way for some interesting moments. Even though numerous critics perceived it more of a drama, "Margot" has actually quite a fair share of "hidden" comical moments - the funniest one is when Jim gives a present to Margot in front of everyone. She looks at it and takes some time to unravel and open it. She is then surprised to find out it's two slippers and looks at him in a puzzling way. And Jim says: "I thought you might need those. I remembered you were cold when we were in Vermont". The sequence where the two sisters argued about all the secrets in the family in front of everyone, and then Pauline and Margot exchange these lines: "I think Becky got it the worst." - "Did she ever. Raped by the horse trainer", upon they both burst out in laughter, is a great example of (autobiographical) slice of life. However, too much talking is in the end a too heavy burden for the film, or better said the author did not find a right balance of allowing the film to flow even when nobody is talking.


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