Film realistic but shallow

By on February 20, 2008

Quinnipiac Film Society hosted executive producer Greg Johnson to show his well-known film The Squid and the Whale on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

“The Squid and the Whale” was the classic independent film with an open ending with no real substantial close.

During the film, the dynamics between the main characters were hard to watch at times and certain scenes of the younger boy seemed unnecessarily obscene and in poor taste.

Don’t get me wrong; I thought the script was written fairly well and caught the true relationships of a divorced family. Like Johnson said, the actors were not at all “Hollywood.” The dialogue between the members of the family around the dinner table mocked the dinner table conversations that many are well aware of.

The beginning of the film was highly predictable and moved way too fast where in 10 minutes the family went from being happy and playing tennis together to being torn apart and becoming four estranged individuals.

As far as acting goes, there were many outlets and opportunities where the actors could have expressed more pain from the divorce. All four individuals didn’t know what they wanted out of life, especially the children (played by Owen Kline and Jessie Eisenberg), and did not express the pain that would have been endured as a result.

The conflict that I faced throughout watching the movie was whether to hate the father or the mother (played by Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney, respectively). It is usually the case, in a torn family, where outsiders and even the children do not know who to hate and who to take after. The younger boy noticed the problem with being like his father by seeing the repercussions of his older brother’s attitude. The older brother took his anger out on his mother for cheating by acting like his father and living with him.

Another question that popped up from the beginning was the title and how it correlates. At the end of the film, the older brother went to the museum to see the statue of a whale eating a squid that he used to see with his mother. The theme of “The Squid and the Whale” was the older brother’s understanding and yearning to be like his mother and pulling away from the father.

While the movie was disappointing from being built up for weeks, the movie captured the complexities of parent and child.


About Brittany Fouskas