The Squid and the Whale (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Squid and the Whale2005

The Squid and the Whale (2005)



Critic Consensus: This is a piercingly honest, acidly witty look at divorce and its impact on a family.

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Movie Info

Bernard Berkman, the patriarch of an eccentric Brooklyn family, claims to have been a famous novelist but is now reduced to teaching. His wife Joan discovers a literary talent of her own, and it breaks up the family, leaving the two teenage sons, Walt, 16, and Frank, 12, divided between their parents. The wife starts an affair with her younger son's tennis coach, while the husband starts sleeping with a student whom his elder son is courting.

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Jeff Daniels
as Bernard Berkman
Laura Linney
as Joan Berkman
Owen Kline
as Frank Berkman
Jesse Eisenberg
as Walt Berkman
Halley Feiffer
as Sophie Greenburg
Molly Barton
as Graduate Student
Bo Berkman
as Graduate Student
Matthew Kaplan
as Graduate Student
Simon Kaplan
as Graduate Student
Matthew Kirsch
as Graduate Student
Daniella Markowicz
as Graduate Student
Elizabeth Meriwether
as Graduate Student
Ben Schrank
as Graduate Student
Amy Srebnick
as Graduate Student
Josh Srebnick
as Graduate Student
Emma Straub
as Graduate Student
Alan Wilks
as Graduate Student
Eli Gelb
as Jeffrey
Wayne Lawson
as Talent Show Judge
Michael Santiago
as Talent Show Judge
Patricia Towers
as Talent Show Judge
Peggy Gormley
as Mrs. Greenberg
Peter Newman (I)
as Mr. Greenberg
Greta Kline
as Greta Greenberg
Melissa Meyer
as Professor
Benjamin Smolen
as Student with Puppets
Alexandra Daddario
as Pretty Girl
Nico Baumbach
as Jeb Gelber
Ken Leung
as School Counselor
Jo Yang
as Nurse
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Critic Reviews for The Squid and the Whale

All Critics (154) | Top Critics (43)

A wry exercise in acute observation and emotional distancing, Noah Baumbach's The Squid and the Whale represents what's best in autobiographical filmmaking.

January 5, 2006

It's the sort of film that's bound to be labeled modest, but it packs a hefty emotional wallop.

December 6, 2005 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

The Squid and the Whale is essentially about how we grow up by absorbing what is useful in our parents and forgiving what is not.

December 6, 2005 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Don't look now, but Jeff Daniels' days as 'the other Jeff' may be coming to an end.

November 23, 2005 | Rating: 4.5/5

Hilarious, harrowing and heartbreaking, The Squid and the Whale is one of the best movies of the year.

November 17, 2005 | Rating: A

It has the messiness of real life, with uncombed hair and unanswered questions.

November 4, 2005 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Squid and the Whale


There's who and what we want to be ... and there's who and what we are, combined with the anxiety that neither is accepted while hoping that everything will be okay in the end. The divorce drama here navigates the nuances of all of that, and the effect such tragi-comedies have on us all, amazingly done with humility, restraint and forgiveness by Noah Baumbach, and facillitated by a superb cast hitting on all cylinders.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


Pleasant, engaging drama that boasts some stunning performances, I really enjoyed the Squid and the Whale, which is a surprisingly charming picture that mixes drama with a few aspects of comedy. The result is a film that is highly entertaining from start to finish, and each actor brings something great to the screen. The film is well worth seeing, and ranks among the finest dramas I have seen in the last few months. Even if this film is nearly a decade old, I'm glad I finally got around to seeing this film, as it is well worth your time. With effective performances that really bring out the best of the film's elements, The Squid and the Whale is a near perfect film that is well worth your time. It's a short, straight to the point film that just dives into its plot, and you get hooked fairly easily simple, yet effective this film takes a simple idea, and runs with it and pulls off something wonderful. Short and sweet, and to the point. This is an impressive picture, one that is accomplished in what it tries to do, and it features Jesse Eisenberg finest performance to date. This is the perfect mix of drama and comedy and it works quite well to grab your attention and make it a film going experience that will stick with you long after you've seen it. The performances are wonderful, and the plot is rich, and The Squid and the Whale has something for everyone. For those who enjoy the genre, this is a film well worth your time, and is an engaging picture from start to finish.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer


Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

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