MARGOT AT THE WEDDING
BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
JULY 20, 2010
“Margot At The Wedding,” Baumbach’s follow-up to “The Squid and The Whale,” takes an A-list actress in Nicole Kidman and diminishes her prestige to a standard, neurotic, everyday human being.
Nicole Kidman plays Margot, a published writer, on her way to her sister Pauline’s (Jennifer Jason Leigh) wedding accompanied by her son Claude (Zane Pais). The groom-to-be, Malcolm (funnyman Jack Black), takes on a more serious role than usual, but still end up hilarious (“My scrotum is longer than my penis”). The viewer, in turn, becomes a family member, watching the inner workings of the complex yet severely simple household. Baumbach shows an artist’s hand at creating dislikeable main characters yet investing the viewer enough to care what unfolds.
Margot has an arid sense of humor, a trait you come to expect from Noah Baumbach’s raw style of drama. The beauty of Baumbach’s writing is finding humor in everyday life. The idea of a wedding in films is usually so convoluted, with week-long preparations and glitz and glamour, that the simplicity of the party tent and the cutting down of a tree to prepare for Florence’s wedding puts you back in touch with reality.
“Margot At The Wedding” is not a cinematic masterpiece. Noah Baumbach, however, deserves his place in Hollywood as writer/director for the sole fact of originality and ability to create his genre of dark comedy. Everyday life can be humorous. All you have to do is look closely.
November 16, 2007
(for sexual content and language)
Jennifer Jason Leigh