The Squid And the Whale is a typical “indie” movie. It has a script that is based upon an interesting idea – the effect of divorce between two middle class intellectuals upon their children – some well written characters with a smattering of funny lines and odd situations.
But that’s it. It doesn’t go anywhere. There is no attempt at a narrative plot and it basically just leaves you hanging there, trying to make sense of it and to me, that’s just as lazy as throwing in a gratuitous love interest or a pointless car chase. Jeff Daniels is as great as always, playing a domineering self obsessed asshole in a way that lesser actors wouldn’t touch for fear of tainting their “image”. The rest of the cast are also very good and it definitely has moments, but a collection of moments does not necessarily make a good film.
Worth watching once, but it’s a cold and detached exercise in observation that withers half way through and left me thinking “Is that it…?” in a way that far too many of these pseudo-intellectual projects seem to.