New York Magazine


The Squid and the Whale
  Release Date: 10/05/05 (Future Release)

Starring: Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, Halley Feiffer

Director: Noah Baumbach

Rating: (R)
  Running Time
  81 min
  Samuel Goldwyn Films
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In his feature-film debut, Noah Baumbach is lucky to have Jeff Daniels starring as a monstrously selfish, unwarrantedly egotistical novelist who imposes his will and opinions upon his son (Jesse Eisenberg) and wife (Laura Linney, giving a tightly-wound performance). Eisenberg’s Walt is the ostensible center of the movie. Why? Presumably because he’s closest in age to Baumbach for this semi-autobiographical tale, and in the desired opening-weekend demo. All the more reason to appreciate the way a bearded Daniels dominates: His perpetually glum expression is a sign of his deep thoughtfulness, even though his deep thoughts are the notions of the worst sort of pseudo-intellectual: it’s a brilliant portrait of a middle-aged gasbag, and young Baumbach knows it—you can tell because he puts that great comic chronicler of post-40 delusion, Loudon Wainwright III, on the soundtrack.— Reviewed by Ken Tucker, New York Magazine