The Squid and the Whale 2005

Critics score:
93 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: It has the messiness of real life, with uncombed hair and unanswered questions. Read more

David Edelstein, Slate: You can look at The Squid and the Whale as the truest kind of artistic coming-of-age story: a cathartic piece of self-criticism. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: That Jeff Daniels character in particular is such a perfect crystallization of a certain kind of intellectual who is so pleased with himself and so incapable of being a decent human being. Read more

Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Hilarious, harrowing and heartbreaking, The Squid and the Whale is one of the best movies of the year. Read more

AV Club: Read more

Bill Muller, Arizona Republic: Don't look now, but Jeff Daniels' days as 'the other Jeff' may be coming to an end. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: The movie's lasting sting belies its brief 80 minutes. This is one cinematic novella that stays with you for quite a while. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: Acutely observed, faultlessly acted, graced with piercing emotion and unsparing honesty, it will make you laugh because you can't bear to cry. Read more

Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle: Brevity is, indeed, the soul of wit, and in this case, wit barely starts to describe the value of this dead-on, full-of-life motion picture. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: Baumbach captures the ways in which children takes sides in a war they can't even begin to comprehend. Read more

Michael Booth, Denver Post: The most praiseworthy thing about emerging writer-director Noah Baumbach's movie is the precise observation and delivery of language. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: Baumbach lets no one off the hook, least of all himself. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: There's nothing fun about divorce, but The Squid and the Whale manages to wring humor from a sharp-edged, painfully real separation story that goes straight for the jugular on its way to the funny bone. Read more

Paul Malcolm, L.A. Weekly: In The Squid and the Whale, Noah Baumbach weds his verbal gifts to a fresh visual acuity that brings layers of rich detail to a portrait of a family coping, poorly, with self-inflicted change. Read more

Jan Stuart, Newsday: Photographed in a rough-hewn, French New Wave style befitting its alienated characters, The Squid and the Whale significantly fulfills the promise of Baumbach's 1995 debut feature Kicking and Screaming. Read more

David Ansen, Newsweek: Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: A startling new drama. Read more

Jami Bernard, New York Daily News: [A] wrenchingly funny, agonizingly astute movie. Read more

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: Works very well as a grown-up family entertainment unafraid of all the indelicate details of pubescent indiscretions among children entangled in a supposedly 'friendly' divorce. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: A brutal study in distracted parenting. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: The foundation of any good family drama is interesting characters, and The Squid and the Whale is replete with them Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: The Squid and the Whale is essentially about how we grow up by absorbing what is useful in our parents and forgiving what is not. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Has so much going for it -- including intelligent performances that mesh beautifully, and a keen understanding of how seemingly small moments can rattle the foundations of families -- that you walk away from it feeling it should add up to more. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: A worthy film, satisfying along the way and indicative of an appealing talent. Read more

Jeff Strickler, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Daniels and Linney do a great job of being despicable without coming off as monstrous, which is what makes the characters credible. Read more

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: This is a film that reinvigorates the divorce cliche through the steady application of two ingredients: scrupulous honesty and admirable concision. Read more

Susan Walker, Toronto Star: Both literarily wise and literary in itself, The Squid and the Whale is a fresh rendering of the agony of divorce. Read more

Time Out: Read more

Ben Walters, Time Out: Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: An incisive and intimate tale of a Brooklyn family falling apart as told by the two sons. Read more

Scott Foundas, Variety: Makes up in strong performances and wry observation what it sometimes lacks in narrative drive. Read more

J. Hoberman, Village Voice: Tender, cruel, and very funny, Baumbach's fourth feature turns family history into a sort of urban myth. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: The movie feels like it was written in the filmmaker's own sweat and tears. Read more