Indie # 9 - The Squid and the Whale
Admittedly, I will see anything with Laura Linney. However, this heartfelt story is well-written and well-cast.
What happens to a family when 2 literary parents suddenly separate? When each child idolizes one parent and blames the other, seeing things in black and white terms? As the kids begin seeing their parents’ flaws, can they accept the shades of gray?
Baumbach’s simplicity and complex family dynamics strike a chord with me, but I must admit I also have selfish reasons for liking this film. Being a stepmom of 3 for 13 years, it’s frustrating when children don’t see his/her parent in a realistic light, but instead see them as someone without any flaws. Yes, this is imperative when the children are young and need to feel safe. But as the kids get older, I think it’s healthy to begin challenging certain things, making up their own mind instead of automatically accepting everything as fact.
When the movie “Stepmom” came out many years ago, my younger stepdaughter walked out and claimed, “But no mommy could ever do mean things like the mommy in the movie did.” I bit my tongue so hard it turned purple, for in fact that very DAY her mother had done something insensitive and careless which affected them.
As we grow older and (hopefully) make amends with our childhoods, parents, and lives, we grow wiser. This film is a tiny snippet of how that wisdom’s spark begins.