Unlike French New Wave filmmakers like Eric Rohmer, who influenced Baumbach—and unlike The Squid and the Whale—Baumbach provides no redemption here.  In fact, he seems to be saying that this behavior is not only inevitable, but also irreparable.  And that, perhaps, is his most egregious error.  Everyone longs for hope beyond the pain of broken relationships.  But watching such a dismal spectacle is like listening to the clamor of a discordant harmony.  It’s uncomfortable, and it’s depressing, and you just want it to end.

Ultimately, only those with a prurient interest in dysfunction—and a lot of patience—are apt to appreciate this one.

DVD EXTRAS:

  • A conversation with Noah Baumbach and Jennifer Jason Leigh
  • Theatrical Trailers

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Characters drink and smoke throughout film; one or two become intoxicated.  Characters smoke pot in one scene and become high.
  • Language/Profanity:  Numerous discussions—often with crude terms and strong obscenities—about sex and adultery.  Various obscenities and profanities, some strong. Crude references to homosexual behavior by an adolescent.
  • Sexual Content/Nudity:  Ongoing discussion throughout film about sex, sexuality, and sexual relationships.  Various scenes involving adolescent and teenage sexuality and some adult nudity.  [A woman pleasures herself; a character talks about her youthful promiscuity; a character commits adultery; another embraces her lover in front of her adolescent child; characters engage in sexual acts indoors and outdoors (offscreen); a male character examines himself in the mirror, nude, and discusses his anatomy in detail (full rear nudity); a female character appears in her underwear with an unbuttoned shirt, fully exposing her breasts; multiple characters cavort outdoors in the nude, as children watch from behind a fence; a mother advises her 12-year-old son to “just use a condom” if he becomes sexually involved with his babysitter, then leaves him alone to do just that; an older teenage girl climbs on top of an adolescent boy and rubs him, fully clothed; adolescent boy appears in his underwear; adolescent boy tells his mother that he pleasured himself; an adult man confesses that he “made out with” a teenage girl and describes that interaction, which is later condemned as pedophilia.]
  • Violence:  Adolescent boy menaces then assaults another, biting him in the neck; an adult chases then viciously attacks (hits, kicks) another adult as he lays on the ground, pleading for mercy.  Harsh verbal exchanges.