The Squid and the Whale


Writer-director Noah Baumbach injects a disarming sexual frankness and humor into his semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story, set in Park Slope, Brooklyn, in 1986, about two young brothers coming out from under the confusing cloud of their parents' divorce. Walt (Jesse Eisenberg), 16, sides with his father (Jeff Daniels), once a hotshot novelist, now teacher, and he regurgitates his dad's pompous pontifications. His brother, 12-year-old Frank (Owen Kline), is more comfortable with their mom (Laura Linney) but acts out by masturbating at school. Laura Linney is, as usual, sublimely sympathetic. Daniels is dead-on as the blowhard father. Eisenberg and Klein are sensational in expressing how these two troubled kids struggle to forge their own identities.

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