Margot at the Wedding

2007

Comedy / Drama

5
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 51% · 167 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 40% · 10K ratings
IMDb Rating 6.0/10 10 22795 22.8K

Director

Top cast

Nicole Kidman as Margot
Jack Black as Malcolm
Ciarán Hinds as Dick Koosman
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
850.69 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
R
Subtitles us  
23.976 fps
1 hr 32 min
Seeds 34
1.71 GB
1920*1080
English 5.1
R
Subtitles us  
23.976 fps
1 hr 32 min
Seeds 45

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Chris Knipp 7 / 10

Neurotic chaos in the Hamptons

Baumbach was nominated for an Oscar for Best Screenplay for his amusing, spot-on study of a New York literary intellectual family in crisis, 'The Squid and the Whale.' As befits one who received accolades and some little box office success, he has moved forward with similar themes and a better budget, and was able to enlist not only several more well-known actors but a famous cinematographer, Harris Savides, and a renowned costume designer, Ann Roth. Baumbach has also moved along in time, as it were. If 'The Squid and the Whale' was a parental breakup mostly considered from the viewpoint of a teenage boy, this family analysis has more of an adult sibling focus--though there's a boy on hand who's important. More limited in its time-span than 'Squid,' 'Margot' is more complex in its specifics and in its conversational delineation of neurotics at play. Just about every scene is a relationship meltdown. It's a wonder nobody comes to violence. In fact one character does get kicked in the chest, and a big tree falls down, doing some damage.

Baumbach himself may understand what all this is about, but the choppily edited and shot piece has too little dramatic structure (despite being very much like a play) to go anywhere or make much overall sense. Despite good buzz from some quarters and urban (especially New York) fans, the young director may lose with 'Margot' a sizable slice of the credibility he gained with 'Squid.'

Pauline (Baumbach's wife, Jennifer Jason Leigh), who lives on the family house on an island, is about to be married, for the second time, to out of work artist Malcolm (Jack Black). Her sister Margot (Nicole Kidman) comes with her young adolescent son Claude (Zane Pais). Ingrid (Flora Cross), Pauline's daughter, is there, and a playmate for Claude. Margot is a well-known short-story writer, and it turns out she's scheduled for a reading at a local bookstore with a former flame, Dick (Ciaran Hinds), whom she seems to want to get together with again. Dick's sexy daughter Maisy (Halley Feiffer) is also on hand. Margot has told her husband Jim (John Turturro) not come for the wedding (though briefly he does appear).

Pauline and Margot haven't been getting on well for years, but they both approach this occasion with the misguided assumption that they're nonetheless still each other's best friends and that things are going to be rich and consoling.

But as soon as the good-looking and accomplished, if thoroughly neurotic Margot lays eyes on the fat layabout Malcolm, she goes to work on Pauline to cancel the wedding--even though Pauline reveals she's pregnant. There is a family of nasty neighbors, the Voglers, who want the big tree in the backyard to come down. Its roots are spreading to their property, it's rotting, and it's poisoning their plants, they say.

Margot wants Claude to become more independent, but neither of them is ready for that yet. Nobody seems to be ready for anything, relationship-wise. This is about the only thing that clearly emerges.

One of the problems is in the conception of the main characters. This is not the anguished, edgy Leigh we've often seen in the past but a mellow woman, and despite lack of accomplishment and temper tantrums (which he credibly argues are justified in this crazy situation) Malcolm may have been a sweet guy who clicks very well with Pauline. Margot seems to make trouble for everybody, beginning wit her son. But since she's the most accomplished family member, it's a bit hard to know how to take her. It's a bit hard to know how to take anybody. Complex characters are fine, but nobody in this piece is going in a consistent direction. And this is equally true of the action. Was the wedding meant to have a meltdown before it ever happened?

This is a slice of life in more ways than one. Scenes are constantly cut off and linked to the next by jump cuts, an effect meant to be vérité and sophisticated that tends at times merely to look sloppy. Though Baumbach says he got exactly the look he wanted, it's surprising that the Savides of 'Elephant' and 'Zodiac' would give us so many shots that are seriously under-lit. Again, the effect hovers between original and amateurish.

All this is a shame, because all the actors do great work. The young newcomer who plays Margot's son Claude, Zane Pais, is indeed miraculously natural and believable. Leigh and Kidman do some of their best work, and Jack Black has perfect pitch in every line. There's no doubt that weeks of careful rehearsals on the set, in the house, helped the cast work so well together, and Baumbach knew what he wanted. But it reads as a series of vignettes rather than a film.

Reviewed by gbill-74877 5 / 10

Weak script

A film that had promise, with lots of stars in its cast (Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jack Black) and the premise of a dysfunctional pair of sisters coming together for one's low-key wedding. How adult siblings sometimes act around one another, with actions colored by grievances stemming back to childhood, is certainly fertile ground for universal emotions. Unfortunately this one gets tedious as it goes along, with the characters devolving into caricatures lacking realism. I didn't mind so much that the story meandered, I mean that's how life is after all, but I think the film thought it was deeper than it was. Oh, it tries hard, with bizarre nextdoor neighbors, the whiff of an underage relationship with the babysitter, hints of childhood trauma, etc, but it's all without substance and nothing sticks. It's a shame, because with a better script, this could have been a gem.

Some quotes might illustrate my point: "I think Becky got it the worst." "Did she ever. Raped by the horse-trainer." (hysterical, unexplained laughter ensues)

"Did she poop in her pants?" "It happens to everyone, not just babies. It'll happen to you too, someday."

"I masturbated last night. While everyone was asleep, I went into the bathroom and did it." "You don't need to tell me that, sweetie."

Reviewed by evanston_dad 1 / 10

A Repugnant Film

A typical conversation from "Margot at the Wedding" might go something like this:

"You were always so pretty." "WERE pretty? Does that mean you don't think I'm pretty anymore?" "Why are you responding with all of this passive aggressive hostility? I was just trying to pay you a compliment." "You know, I was noticing earlier today that you have really bad body odor. Does that ever bother you?" "You're such a bitch."

And that's it. Scene after scene of dialogue like this, spoken by one unlikable character to another unlikable character, until you feel like the only possible way for the movie to end satisfactorily is for all of the characters to be impaled on something very sharp and preferably jagged.

Noah Baumbach made an auspicious debut with "The Squid and the Whale," but with "Margot at the Wedding" he makes the mistake of assuming that one person's morbid neuroses are inherently interesting to another. We don't learn anything about these characters, we don't care about them, and we don't like them. You tell me -- do you want to sit through 90 minutes of that?

Grade: F

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