As I sluggishly get through my day today and especially now to keep my eye lids open as class drones on I realized that I haven't talked about my new Netflix experience as well as partaking in Noah Baumbach's The Squid and the Whale. I finally decided that spending eight dollars a month is worth getting a couple of movies a week and indulging in all that I can with documentaries and Independent films that when I walk into the dreaded Blockbuster I end up being bombarded with bad Hollywood movies and overpriced Jiffy Pop. This has been a fantastic decision and kind of kick myself for not doing this movie in my mailbox thing earlier.
The latest movie watching adventure is The Squid and the Whale. A great film that is obviously influenced by Wes Anderson who was also the producer of the film. The plot reminds me of The Darjeeling Limited and The Royal Tannenbaums with a father estranging himself from his family due to selfish actions and the insistence their way is the best way (sometimes the only way). The film is stylistically lovely and the music looks back to the classic rock diddys (Lou Reed, Loudon Wainwright III).
The film has a simple story (or a simple story that my generation understands so well) of a family divorcing, the children almost forced to choose sides, and the repercussions when you don't know who you intermingles with chaos and pain. I think the story is almost hard to watch at times when you see a nine year old boy masturbating in the library as well as getting drunk on weekdays locked in his bedroom hoping to drink away the understanding that he might just look like his father. The father (Jeff Daniels) is a harsh yet loving father, wanting what he thinks is best for his boys, but sabotaging them at the same time.
There are some great themes of loving yourself, loving who you are becoming, facing your fears, and standing up to the scary present that is slowing becoming your past. The concept of the squid and the whale is only important in theory but a beautiful reconnection of what it means to be loved by your mother and communicating your desires and needs to be loved in return. I think they did a great job showing the expectations of sleeping with the hottest girl and how that can skew your perception of yourself and of others.
I walked away from the film with a bit of hope and knowing that the pain continues to bring you closer to a new reality but a reality that you are not perfect and it is okay not to be.