Margot at the Wedding

LetterboxD review link

Since seeing Noah Baumbach’s Meyerowitz Stories, I’ve gone back to see the films in his filmography that I had missed for one reason or another. The latest one I caught up with was Margot at the Wedding. Of the three era’s of Baumbach, this film is squarely in the dysfunctional family, unlikeable people, irredemable character era. But as such, it is one a formidable entry in that era.

The collaborations between Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach number many, across both their filmographies. This film, to my mind, showed most clearly what it would be like if Wes Anderson’s characters lived in Noah Baumbach’s universe – missing entirely the whimsy and magic that makes Anderson’s films refreshing even when awful things are happening. The black comedic nature of Margot was not lost on me but, like Mistress America, Baumbach piled up farcical, illogical dramas one upon another that in the end undermined the otherwise linear, contained story. The scene in Mistress America where all the characters are trapped in a house together worked for me. But for some reason, this film’s third act didn’t.

Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jack Black put in good performances. Nicole Kidman, as a distant, self-absorbed, writer was perhaps a catalyst for the kinds of characters Kidman has played in the latest decade of her career. And despite some compelling performances and scenes, the overall story just didn’t quite come together for me.