Margot at the Wedding
One family. Infinite degrees of separation.
Official Selection, 2007 Toronto International Film Festival
Price: $4.99 + taxes and fees
Marriage Story cemented Noah Baumbach as the poet laureate of toxic relationships, but he’s been honing that perspective for a very long time. In Margot at the Wedding — his follow-up to the devastating domestic implosion that was The Squid and the Whale — Baumbach drills down into one especially horrible character, and gives Nicole Kidman one of the greatest roles of her career. That would be the eponymous Margot, who’s arrived on Long Island with her son Claude (Zane Pais) to attend the marriage of her sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to the cheerful Malcolm (Jack Black). Margot is a renowned author; she’s also a tornado of judgment, spewing venom and loathing wherever she goes while insisting she’s just pointing out obvious truths. (One obvious truth she’s unwilling to acknowledge: She’s used the details of Pauline’s life as fodder for her latest novel, a fact with which Pauline is not at all pleased.) Baumbach’s ability to understand broken characters without necessarily empathizing with them gives Kidman the chance to go further than she’s usually allowed; her Margot is a portrait of a miserable person who’s convinced herself everyone else is the problem. This wedding weekend might be her last chance to realize how wrong she is.
Content advisory: sexually suggestive scenes, coarse language