Saturday, January 14, 2006
The Squid and the Whale
I’m not a movie person. When I rent or buy a DVD, inevitably I can’t sit through the whole thing without either giving up entirely, or coming back the next day or week or year to finish, or pausing while I channel surf to see what’s going on elsewhere at that moment. (It’s not unlike my writing process these days, which consists of a few minutes of work, followed by a few minutes of blogging, or emailing, or whatever, and then a little more work. My attention span isn’t what it used to be, as I know I’ve said here before.) And it’s been ages since I’ve been in a movie theater. But . . .
My terrific little town has a new theater. Actually it is an old theater that a New York screenwriter/entrepreneur recently bought and painstakingly rehabbed. The Visulite plans to show independent and art films, which seems quite a bold undertaking (I’m already anticipating the Valley Family Forum’s protests when “Brokeback Mountain” comes next month), and also hopes to host other film-related events, talks by screenwriters, etc. It is a wonderful addition to our town and that’s why I went to see the movie, even though, as I said, I’m not really a movie guy. (For now, there is only one screen; a second will open eventually. The seats are plush and comfortable. And I love the fact that the owner was in the lobby greeting patrons after the credits rolled.)
The Squid and the Whale is a wonderful little movie, starring Jeff Daniels, who seems to be the master of the small film, and Laura Linney. (Is it me, or is Linney in everything these days?) They play an intellectual couple, both PhD in English, both writers. His work seems to have dried up, she has a novel coming out from Knopf (an excerpt of which appears in The New Yorker). They're both exquisitely flawed (she's quite frank about her affairs; he's a pedantic name-dropper) and have done a bang-up job of raising a couple of twisted kids, and that's what the story is really about. The question the movie asks is whether the damage they've done to the kids is irreparable. Since the kids do show a little backbone in the end, I'm hopeful for their recovery. Definitely worth seeing.