"Margot at the Wedding" for the 4th of July

So like all good Americans I spent the 4th of July chopping wood for winter and taping my two-year-old capering about in my backyard, wearing a bucket on her head and swinging in the hammock, crying, “Higher, please!” Later I tuned the tube to a (seemingly, to me at least) obscure film called Margot at the Wedding (2007), starring Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh, as sisters no less. 
This ain’t Will Smith in Independence Day, that’s for sure. Replace the diabolical aliens with screwed-up humans who fear themselves rather than E.T.
It’s surprisingly good, especially considering Nicole’s character is a writer: ugh, nothing worse than writers. As characters at least. They tend to be done so unrealistically and clumsily that it’s laughable. Though the exceptions are always worth it: the frosty children’s book writer in Burn After Reading, the nebbishy loser Miles in Sideways, and now Nicole as “Margot,” who seems very much the contemporary version of the neurotic writer, the falling-apart-slowly kind, the hurting-everyone-nearby kind. The tree climbing scene is worth the whole movie. Plus Jack Black as an artist: I still cringe when I see this guy, but he’s making some good movies. He plays Jennifer Jason Leigh’s pathetic, feckless fiance. Noah Baumbach is the writer/director, and he also made another good movie about creepy writers in New York (throw a rock and you’ll hit one), The Squid and the Whale.
With all the crap filling up the airwaves, like Paul Blart: Mall Cop and its ilk, this is worth seeing. “But it’s so depressing!” say my students. Well, true. But it’s also funny. Depressing and funny trumps stupid.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *