Margot At The Wedding


Directed by: Noah Baumbach
Written by:Noah Baumbach
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Jack Black, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Zane Paris, Flora Cross, Ciaran Hinds
Released: February 21, 2008
Grade: B-

One of my top 10 movies of 2006 was The Squid And The Whale.  It starred Laura Linney and Jeff Daniels and was the story of one very messed up family.  It was black comedy at its finest – extremely funny but uncomfortable to watch at the same time.  Writer-director Noah Baumbach deservedly received an Academy Award nomination for his original screenplay.

Margot At The Wedding is his follow up and the subject matter is very similar.  Pauline (Leigh) and Margot (Kidman) are sisters who haven’t spoken for a number of years.  Pauline has extended the olive branch to Margot and asked her to come to her wedding.  She is to marry Malcolm (Black), an unemployed artist who specialises in writing letters to the editor.

Every character in this film has deep, psychological issues.  When I looked at them on screen, I chuckled and thought to myself “these people are nuts”.  At the same time though, I realised that I knew people with similar personality traits.  These people will keep you on your toes whether you like them or not.  Noah Baumbach has developed a knack for creating flawed, yet interesting, characters.

Pauline and Malcolm may be about to get married but you wouldn’t think it when you see them interact with each other.  It’s a strange relationship at best.  It left me wondering how they met in the first place.  Margot has an equally perplexing relationship with her teenage son (Paris) who looks more like a girl than a boy.  They are very open with each other to a point where it’s kind of creepy.

I really enjoyed the start of the film but Margot At The Wedding couldn’t maintain its opening pace.  Once the character introductions were out of the way, nothing much seemed to happen.  I was expecting some major confrontations between certain characters but they never eventuated.  It all kind of fizzled out with a weak ending.  Maybe there was some hidden message that I missed.

The performances are decent and it’s good to see Nicole Kidman is a “meatier” role.  Her careeer has stalled following her Academy Award win for The Hours in 2003.  Her selection of films (The Invasion, Bewitched, The Stepford Wives) has left many scratching their heads.  Margot At The Wedding gives Kidman a chance to play a character (albeit an unlikeable one) with depth.

There are a few good jokes and a few eye-opening surprises but there’s just not enough material to make this movie last the distance.