The acting from the leads in Noah Baumbach's Margot at the Wedding is terrific—Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh at their very best, creating characters we all know and often love to hate.
Kidman is Margot, attending her sister's wedding to the slacker Malcolm (Jack Black) with her young son Claude (Zane Pais) in tow. The acid and bile between the sisters, both terribly passive-aggressive, could not be more corrosive, as Manhattanite novelist Margot disagrees with everything her free-spirited sister is trying to do, using her sister's wedding as an excuse to have an affair with pompous writer Dick Koosman (Ciaran Hinds).
As always, Baumbach's dialog crackles, but the anger between the siblings eventually grows to almost alienate the audience—at a certain point, it becomes hard to care about such narcissistic creatures, even if they truly think they're doing the right thing. And while Black is terrific early on, all cartoony and bafoony, when push comes to shove, he has an almost impossible time delivering the emotional goods.
There's plenty that's good here, but what's missing is the tenderness of Baumbach's last film, The Squid and the Whale, which offered the same painful emotional truths in a family you wanted to see survive. In Margot—well, it might be better if they stopped talking.
Write to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.