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THE SQUID AND THE WHALE
USA: Samuel Goldwyn Films
UK: Sony Pictures Releasing
Cast: Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, William Baldwin, Anna Paquin, Halley Feiffer, Alexandra Daddario, Eli Gelb, Henry Glovinsky, Adam Rose, Benjamin Smolen, Jo Yang
Director: Noah Baumbach
USA & UK: 81 mins
USA Rated: R for strong sexual content, graphic dialogue and language
UK Certificate: 15 contains very strong language and strong sex references
USA Release Date: 14 October 2005 (Limited Release - wider)
USA Release Date: 7 October 2005
UK Release Date: 7 April 2006
Based on the true childhood experiences of Baumbach and his brother, THE SQUID AND THE WHALE tells the story of two young boys, Walt (Jesse Eisenberg) and Frank (Owen Kline) dealing with their parents, Bernard (Jeff Daniels) and Joan (Laura Linney) divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980's.
Set in Brooklyn in 1986, THE SQUID AND THE WHALE captures with extraordinary immediacy the inner workings of the Berkman family. Bernard, a once successful novelist, and his wife Joan, an up-and-coming writer, have given up on their marriage. Their two sons Walt, 16, and Frank, 12, are left to grapple with their confusing and conflicted feelings.
The experience is a tender, funny and ultimately moving coming of age for Walt and a tortuously premature one for Frank. The emotional tensions and strains that emerge during this difficult period for the Berkmans are given a remarkably subtle and nuanced portrayal. This is a film that deftly presents the realties of a family in transition learning to redefine itself.
Park Slope, Brooklyn, 1986.
When Walt Berkman (Jesse Eisenberg), an impressionable 16-year-old, passes off the Pink Floyd song "Hey You" as his original work and performs it at a high school talent show, he's perfectly content with his rationale. "I felt I could have written it so the fact that it was already written was kind of a technicality." At the same time, his 12-year-old brother Frank (Owen Kline) drinks beer and wonders openly about his mother's sex life.
Both are simply reacting to the fall-out from the bomb dropped on their comfortable family life when their parents, Bernard (Jeff Daniels) -- a once-promising author and now middle-aged academic and Joan (Laura Linney) - a burgeoning writer with a book deal -- announce that they are splitting up.
The familiar, steady foundation is shaken. Walt and Frank are relegated to alternating weekends and a jumbled calendar of Mom or Dad nights. The kids are left to grapple with the confusing and conflicted feelings that arise from the sudden collapse of their parents' marriage.
THE SQUID AND THE WHALE was written and directed by Noah Baumbach, who recently earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Among the critically acclaimed film's other accolades are Golden Globes nominations for Best Picture Musical or Comedy, Best Actor Musical or Comedy for Daniels, and Best Actress Musical or Comedy for Linney. THE SQUID AND THE WHALE premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival where it earned two major awards for Baumbach -- the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award as well as the Best Dramatic Directing Award.
Also starring in the film are Anna Paquin as a young college student who moves into Bernard's crumbling Brooklyn row house, and William Baldwin as a tennis pro who coaches the Berkman kids, while dating their newly-separated mother