Margot Zeller (Nicole Kidman) is a short story writer with a sharp wit and an even sharper tongue. On the eve of her estranged sister Pauline?s (Jennifer Jason Leigh) wedding to unemployed musician/artist/depressive Malcol... more »m (Jack Black) at the family seaside home, Margot shows up unexpectedly to rekindle the sisterly bond and offer her own brand of "support." What ensues is a nakedly honest and subversively funny look at family dynamics.« less
Jerry S. from OCEANSIDE, CA Reviewed on 12/10/2009...
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Suzanne B. Reviewed on 2/15/2009...
Moody and weird family drama with some unusual performances from Nicole Kidman and Jack Black. More of a "chick flick," I suppose.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Heather F. (8izenuff) from PHOENIX, AZ Reviewed on 11/26/2008...
If you like the Squid and the Whale you will find this movie to be similiar. I personally didn't enjoy the movie and was glad it was over. The emotions or conflicts didnt seem real or even normal. It seems like "someone"(director, actors, screenwriters) tried to do or say something here and just didnt. I hated every character except the dog.
5 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.
Kidman Magnificent as Margot..
Jon | Pittsburgh, PA | 02/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film inspires a divisive reaction because it is extremely dark and cynical. I would describe this as a hybrid of a pitch black comedy and drama. It's mode is realism, but there is a touch of melodrama along the way. Everything in even the most dramatic moments is tinged with humor, and it will test the acuteness of your own sense of humor. In all aspects this is sophisticated. This is not your Larry the Cable Guy brand of humor. It is strikingly politically incorrect, almost defiantly so. The humor is in the truth of the situations.
In all aspects this is an honest portrait. Too honest for some viewers who prefer to keep their rosy-colored glasses on at all times. While one viewer will be spellbound by the intense portrayals, another viewer may be turned off by the unpleasantness. It is a matter of taste. Can you find humor in unpleasantness? Do you have the ability to laugh at things which are inherently sad but disturbingly funny? That is what this movie is about.
The performances are all equally magnificent. This is an ensemble piece with its star role in the hands of the most gifted actress of our generation, Nicole Kidman. In every scene she brings the character to startling life. Even when you think you are going to drown in her misery and her unpleasantness towards others, she does something magical: evokes compassion and empathy. All of the characters here are imperfect, rude, brutally unkind, yet none of them are 'bad' people. They are simply human beings coping with life.
I think the main theme of the movie is that we are ALL weird, cruel, and unpleasant, even though most of us try to gloss over that fact. We all lie and do things which hurt others, more or less. Those who deny it are hypocrites. To be human is to be imperfect. The viewer who can not recognize or accept that message is the viewer who will loathe this movie. "
The Comedy Of Malice
R. W. Rasband | Heber City, UT | 03/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There's probably not been so dark a movie comedy as "Margot At The Wedding" in a long, long time, and this could be why it flopped at the box office. It appears to be asking a lot to expect an audience to show up for a film with a lead character this narcissistic and destructive (and played by a star as big as Nicole Kidman, no less.) But you need to go into this with the proper expectations. No one is going to change or grow, at least during the running time of the movie. Remember the old Seinfeld - The Complete Series rule; no hugging, and no learning anything? Ditto in spades for "Margot." Indeed, this movie is a lot like a 90 minute episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Sixth Season with all visible remaining sentiment altogether drained. I loved it, but Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Two-Disc Special Edition) is my idea of a classic comedy. I think there are powerful emotions of love at work in "Margot" but they jostle for position with selfishness, envy, and hostility. Kind of like a real family.
This movie also wears its influences on its sleeve. Margot is supposed to be an acclaimed fiction writer of the The New Yorker [1-year subscription]-magazine variety, and you need to approach this movie as a literary artifact. If you hated reading and explicating short stories in school, you probably won't like this movie. But if you get a thrill from figuring out complicated characters; or connecting the dots between subtle plot twists and developments, then this is the movie for you. Notice the opening and closing scenes of the movie, and what Margot says about her son's sunglasses. If you like to notice details like these and pick up on a film maker's hints, you will have a good time here. I have never been that big a fan of Kidman, (except to marvel at her beauty) but she is really, really good as the awful Margot. As somebody else wrote about her character, Margot is like an emotional terrorist who tosses bombs at any available target. But you get some hints about why she is like she is from the contradictory things she says about her dead father. (Notice how she and Jennifer Jason Leigh talk about him between themselves, and what she says about him in public at a book reading.) And she is a tortured soul, as you can see from her relationship with her kindly husband (John Turturro, in what amounts to a cameo.) She may be the smartest person in the room, but she is also the unhappiest. It's nice to see Jennifer Jason Leigh again as the (relatively) sane sister. Jack Black as Malcolm does a more subdued variation of his usual character. At first you think this goofy failed musician is going to be the beacon of normality for us through these hilariously wounded people. But, without giving too much away, Malcolm has his own issues and it's interesting how Black blends his own patented zaniness with the demands of this plot (particularly in his last scene.)
I think that a lot of the people who liked The Squid and the Whale (Special Edition) (Baumbach highly-praised previous movie) were disappointed by "Margot" because it lacked the nostalgia and coming-of-age elements that were kind of like the sugar coating over the bitter taste of the earlier film. I suppose an angry, successful, gorgeous Nicole Kidman is harder to take than the defeated, schlumpy (but just as angry) Jeff Daniels in "Squid" (even though they are playing very similar characters.) I think this is one of those movies that gets overlooked when first released but will grow in reputation as time passes. It's just really, really funny and truthful in ways we don't like to think about. And if nothing else, you will count your blessings about your own family."
America's Most Dysfunctional
Peter Baklava | Charles City, Iowa | 04/28/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Like a promising souffle that rises toward perfection only to deflate disastrously, Noah Baumbach's "Margot at the Wedding" never blossoms into the good film that it strives to be.
It's patchy and uneven, and intentionally so. "Such is life", Baumbach seems to be saying, "..only a muddle of wounded egos thrashing about."
The patchiness extends from the cinematography (gorgeous and crisp outdoors, but muddy and weak-colored in interior scenes) to the performances. Nicole Kidman never really convinces as the Manhattanite writer, Margot...possibly because no scene in the movie establishes the character's competence at her profession. Jack Black, as the pathetic boy/man Malcolm, hams it up as he saws away at his own masculinity.
The best, and possibly the only redeeming performance in the film, comes from Zane Pais as the adolescent boy Claude, the sweet-faced spawn of Kidman, a role that nearly seems "imported" from a foreign film. Yes, Baumbach has seen Eric Roehmer's movies...but does he emulate them, or does he just want to seem "chic"?
There's a good story in this tragic-comic farce, but Baumbach isn't interested in telling it. He just wants to lead the viewer from one quirky, neurotic episode to another. Even when seen as a critique of a certain form of icky, snobby liberalism, the movie is flabby. Woody Allen certainly would have trimmed away some of the excess, if he had directed.
Some scenes are effective, and the film does take risks. It's just that there are too many indulgences. Only the very dedicated viewer will be able to weather the tiresomeness of it all."
No one really talks like this...
BookWorm | United States | 03/11/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Wow, this movie was a big disappointment. I realize that movies don't always have true-to-life dialogue ("Juno," anyone?), but this went way off the rails as far as the script. It felt very "stage-y" and overwritten.
The reason I'm giving it two stars instead of one is that although I didn't like the film, I DID watch all the way to the end, just to see what happened. So in that odd way, it DID hold my interest. But overall it was not a worthwhile use of my time."
It's Hard To Find People In The World You Love As Much As Yo
SORE EYES | 04/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Full of intimacy and charm, Margot At The Wedding is the story of two estranged sisters-Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh-reuniting on the eve of Lee's down scale wedding to Jack Black.
From the beginning, Margot's (Kidman) motives for attending her sister's wedding are suspect. She pretends to be supportive, but divulges her sister's pregnancy secret to her 11 year old son in one of their talks that sound more like husband and wife conversations rather than mother and son. Margot's run away from her husband to be with an old university lover who just happens to live near her sister, and she's scheduled a talk at a local book store to promote her work. There's also the underlying suspicion that Margot may just be around to cull her family's pain to fill a few more pages in her writer's notebook.
I've read the negative reviews here and I'll concede that this is a heady movie. Margot is intelligent and caustic. If you think Annie Hall was irritating, you'll find even fewer in-roads into Margot's character. Margot is vulnerable for five seconds in this film-when she divulges her plans to move near her lover-which makes the ending of the film even more endearing. I don't agree with the reviews that commented "people don't talk this way" because well, ummm, my family does. I thought this was an intelligent and well written script.
Jennifer Jason Leigh's character tells Margot's son that "it's hard to find people in the world you love as much as your family". This family suffers from some dysfunction but they also are blessed with having the kind of relationships that are so intimate they're soul changing. I think the director and writer did a wonderful job of capturing this family relationship. But I loved Annie Hall too. Margot At The Wedding may be an acquired taste for some and others may never get it, but I really loved this film."