DVD Review: Margot At The Wedding

A penetrating and wry look at family dynamics and the odd ways we express love for each other, director Noah Baumbach’s (The Squid And The Whale) quirky comedy MARGOT AT THE WEDDING arrives on DVD February 19, 2008 from Paramount Home Entertainment. Starring Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman (Cold Mountain), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Jacket) and Jack Black (The Holiday), MARGOT AT THE WEDDING takes an honest and often humorous look at two sisters who are each other’s best friend – which may be their biggest problem. On the eve of her estranged sister Pauline’s (Leigh) wedding to an unemployed musician/artist/depressive (Black), Margot (Kidman) shows up unexpectedly at the family seaside home to rekindle the sisterly bond and offer her own brand of “support.” What ensues is a nakedly honest and subversively funny look at family neuroses, secrets and inescapable bonds. The MARGOT AT THE WEDDING DVD includes a conversation with Noah Baumbach and his wife, actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, as well as two theatrical trailers.

From the Academy Award nominated writer/director Noah Baumbach, the same mastermind that brought us The Squid and The Whale, comes an equally insightful and psychologically disturbing film about family relationships and the chaos that surrounds them.

This film doesn’t sugar-coat anything for the viewer; what you get is an honest portrayal of a family that has issues. From Nicole Kidman’s character, the bright but harsh Margot, to Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character, the free spirited and forgiving Pauline, all of the characters pose real characteristics of people in their situations. They also have personality flaws which expose them to the emotional and sociological situations they ultimately spin themselves into.

Margot, a short-story writer, is a perhaps a little too honest for her own good. Unable to keep the secrets of her sister, Pauline, she’s already spoiled two of her previous marriages thanks to her publications. As she comes in town for marriage number three, Margot is anything but supportive. Living in a world where she plants doubt in the minds of those she loves, she tries to keep from looking too closely at her own life, which isn’t anything short of a mess itself.

Pauline seems to be more sensitive and hasn’t taken too kindly to being the subject of Margot’s previous writings. She still dreams of having a close relationship with Margot, despite all the bad, and thus invites her to her upcoming wedding. Malcolm, the groom to be, isn’t without his own set of problems. While clearly emotionally unstable, he seems to provide the source of companionship that Pauline needs.

It’s not a movie for the light-hearted, and while it does produce funny moments, it is for the most part a serious and rather dark film about dysfunction and how it affects those surrounding it. I was thoroughly impressed with how brutally honest this film handled even the smallest of details. It was brilliantly written, and the actors breathe life into the characters in such a way that you actually feel entangled in the disastrous situations they create for themselves.

The ending leaves the film-goer with the notion that they can decide the fates of Margot and her son Claude, while the fate of Pauline and husband to be, Malcolm is surely sealed. Opinions of movie watchers will surely be unanimous on this title as well. Definitely worth checking out.

Review by Emma Loggins

Grade: A
Official site: http://www.margotatthewedding.com
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