Jesse Eisenberg, The Squid and the Whale
Credit: The Squid and the Whale: James Hamilton

The title of Noah Baumbach’s first feature film, Kicking and Screaming, was later appropriated for an unrelated Will Ferrell fiasco. So when he’s artfully rationalizing Squid‘s unwieldy moniker, you imagine him really thinking: Steal this one, cheerleader boy! The name refers to a museum diorama of sea creatures in combat, symbolizing the movie’s acrimoniously separating academic/writer couple (Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney). They vie for their sons’ affections, and vice versa, in a wrenching drama that should be legally mandated viewing for any child rearers considering splitsville. Did we say drama? The Globes put what may be the most truthful divorce movie ever up for ”best comedy” — a decision more puzzling than that title, though Squid does sport some of 2005’s most gratifyingly pitiful laughs. EXTRAS Baumbach hates scene-specific commentaries, so he offers a 52-minute monologue, set to stills. Curiously, he says that a performance of Pink Floyd’s ”Hey You” — a key plot point — was always scripted, while a documentary shows Jesse Eisenberg arriving on location prepared to sing ”Behind Blue Eyes,” only to be told a rights hang-up will force him to learn Floyd, fast.

The Squid and the Whale
  • Movie
  • 80 minutes